That Magical Time of Year

As the title says, it's that magical time of year again. No, I don't mean the time change where we "fall back" and spend a week or two thinking that's it's really X time instead of Y time, or that it's getting dark way too early. And, no, I don't mean the argument over "Happy Holidays" vs. "Merry Christmas" or the trumped up disgust over what stores are open on what day at Thanksgiving. I'm talking about NaNoWriMo.

For the uninitiated, NaNoWriMo stand for National Novel Writing Month. This is the month--November--each year where authors challenge themselves to write 50,000 words between November 1st and November 30th. It's intended to get the creative juices flowing and motivate authors to push themselves toward a goal. There are events where authors get together to write and encourage each other. I've participated in NaNo for the past two years, but this year I've decided I'm not going to do it.

So, at this point you're either asking why I'm not participating or why you're still bothering to read this blog post. In response to the first part, I've decided to not participate in NaNo because I have found that it has the opposite of the intended effect for me.

NaNo DE-motivates me, and here's how. You have to write an average of 1, 667 words per day to meet the goal of 50,000 words. For some authors, including me, that generally isn't an issue. During October, writing only on weekends, I cranked out about 30,000 words alone. If I wrote every day, I could write more than 50,000. However, there is some psychological effect that deadlines have on me, and others, that if they aren't met, they become demoralizing. If you don't write your 1,667 words one day, you can make them up the next, but then it adds up and add up until eventually you're buried under an impossible avalanche of math and words.

I read a blog post yesterday that said the muse is a dilettante, who must be coaxed and wrangled into being something other than a fickle creature giving out inspiration on a whim as she sees fit. My response to that was to say my muse is a dominatrix with a whip fetish. The night before last she kept me up until almost 4:00 a.m. to write, and it was amazing. But I know that as soon as I agree to NaNo, she'll get exasperated, and the word flow will trickle down to a frustrated few words per day that do nothing but kill my creativity.

So, no NaNo for me, but if you're not what one friend has called me--weird--then good luck to you on your journey through November. I hope you come out the other side 50,000 words closer to your novel, or to multiple short stories, or to whatever your goal is. As for me, I'm content to keep keep my muse content.