NaNoWriMo 2019 . . . Maybe?

Wow . . . three posts in one day. Out of necessity, I’m sure.

Tomorrow is the first of November . . . November is Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

I’ve yet to decide if I’ll tackle writing another book — or, just writing 50,000 words of short fiction — in November. Sure, I’ve done books before. Three times, to be exact. Really, it’s super easy; barely an inconvenience. I’m leaning toward it, for sure, maybe.

The thing is, I don’t know that I’ll have the time. I know it sounds crazy but — as any retired person will tell you — something happens to time once you retire. It contracts, it slips away, whole chunks get lost somewhere and before you know it, it’s 1:00 am and it’s time for bed because you’re getting up at 7:00 am.

Wait . . . I should insert a random photo for them who only look at the pictures.

Anyway, cheese in the sandwich, as they say.

If I attempt a NaNoWriMo feat, I have two high-priority targets. First, the SV-1 unfinished project. That was my first attempt at writing a book and it sits — to my shame — as an unfinished work. It would be nice capping that one and putting it to bed. I mean, it’s going on more than twenty years now.

Interesting thing about it: it’s an example of my early writing. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. In many ways, I’ve improved as a writer and that’s good. In other ways, I don’t know if I have the same dynamic and flair when I write.

Let me explain. Until a few years ago, I’d pick up the figurative pen and paper and got writing. Stuff came out and by my account and recollection, it came out good. Sorry, bad English. I mean it flowed with a simplicity that I now envy. I envy it because I’m now more aware of structure, pacing, voice, etc. etc.

Meaning, I’ve learned a few things and those things make me a better writer . . . but it also makes me a more cautious writer. More careful, more hesitant . . . I write less because I know more about the craft.

That, by the way, is the whole idea behind NaNoWriMo. It’s not aimed at creating a masterpiece (although some NaNoWriMo novels — a small percentage of the whole — saw and see publication). Rather, it’s meant to free your inner creative person; the person who just wants to write with little worry about convention and rules. I mean that in a good way. You can’t just slap words down at random.

Surely, no one would enjoy reading something like this:

They broke Camp and Riding west decided east, Were the better direction along with South. As one, they camped anew and Danced until night came and day, followed soon after.

It’s written with abandon and freedom but it don’t make no sense.

No, what I mean is the writer puts down an interesting story without worrying about grammar or spelling mistakes. Without worry about plot holes. Without concern for how a reader might judge them. In other words, the way I normally write.

Seriously, the exercise is aimed at developing a habit. By the way, ProWriting Aid has a few hints and suggestions for succeeding at your NaNoWriMo effort.

THIS post on their blog speaks about establishing a writing habit . . . a bit odd that since it’s published today and NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow. I assume they mean for this year’s effort to help form the writing habit but the title makes it seem like you would need to do this a month or so before now.

That article also has a link to this free bit of information, a book on writing.

They also have THIS post that talks about plotters and pantsers (I’m a pantser) and how either method can work. Side note: I prefer “pantster” although it doesn’t follow the rules for creating similar words from root words.

I should have shared THIS post a month ago but since I did none of what it says, we’re starting from the same place. But, I couldn’t share it a month ago because I just got it in an email . . . I guess I should follow their blog.

There are other resources out there with tons of information. For instance, Nathan Bransford has lots of posts about the November effort (and he sells a book on it).

Let me be clear: this is a blatant case of do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do. I have read none of those resources and don’t plan to. I’m already a messed-up-by-rules-and-hints writer; I don’t need more things to mess with my head.

Yesterday’s writing effort was like my writing of old . . . I just let go, running with a mere wisp of an idea and not minding the potholes and the lack of guardrails along the road I traveled. But, then I edited. Cleaned up a few words. Removed some extra words. All that made the writing cleaner and crisper . . . but, is it better than my conversation-style writing of SV-1?

Thing is, I like them both so maybe it doesn’t really matter which is better. What matters is to tell a story engagedly and knowing a few will like it, most won’t glance at it, and a few will hate it.

What? My other high-priority target? Ah . . . that would be the clippers story (no title yet, so I identify it thus). That’s going back to NaNoWriMo 2016 mid-October post where I mused about all the stuff I could write. Fired up, I was back then . . .

. . . and, in fact, I wrote the Snail Rodeo story just a few days later in response to a writing prompt (the story is password-protected; ask if you want to read it). Not only that, a few days after that, I wrote THIS short story. That would have been a good story for Halloween 2016 but I wrote what I think is a better one. That’s a lot of writing in less than two weeks.

Then came November and I started the 2016 NaNoWriMo effort (HERE); a Michelle Maul story.

Then came Trump. The plan to write 50,000 words worth of short stories went down the tube. The Michell Maul story I had started didn’t get finished until August 2017, (Dead Girls Tell No Tales – also password protected)  a full nine months later.

Honestly, I still struggle with writing fiction. I’d rather write words of warning about Democrats and Republicans outdoing each other in trying to bring about the end of the Republic faster than the other. I want to write about the anguish of watching ideals trampled by Liberals and Conservatives and watching this country split into factions with differences so great they will only be resolved with violence.I want to write about ignorance about history, about laws, about the Constitution, about the value of ideals.

I want to write that warning . . . but I see that it’s too late. It don’t matter none no more for we done went and screwed the pooch.

But, the good thing is, I wrote a story yesterday. I will write tomorrow. And I’ll try writing more this month. I might not get to 50,000 words, but I’ll write something. It might be crap, but, as they say, some crap is better than no crap.  What do you mean, “that’s not what they say?”

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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About disperser

Odd guy with odd views living an odd life during odd times.
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12 Responses to NaNoWriMo 2019 . . . Maybe?

  1. Ggreybeard says:

    My advice would be: if you have something good to write about, then do so at your own pace, not just because it’s November and someone says it’s National Novel Writing Month. Take your time and get it right. Maybe even time it for November next year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • disperser says:

      NaNoWriMo is entirely voluntary and for one purpose only . . . to get in the habit of writing. A lot of writers think they need to produce a masterpiece and that’s what usually keeps them from doing anything. The effort is aimed at training one’s self to put words to paper. What you do with them after you’re done is a different matter.

      Besides, “something good” is entirely a matter of personal taste. So much so that there’s not really any such thing (in my opinion).

      For example, very few Oscar-winning movies are to my liking. Most (especially recently) I find uninteresting and unwatchable. Same for books. Stephen King had multiple tons of books and over fifty of them made into movies . . . and I’ve yet to read a book of his I like (or any of his books).

      However, ask anyone (almost) and they will tell you he’s a great writer. In terms of productivity and commercial success, he is. As far as books of his I think are great or classic . . . nada. In all fairness, I’ve not read any of them . . . because I don’t like his writing. I think the Shashank Redemption is a great movie and it’s based on one of his novellas . . . which I won’t bother reading.

      So, the point for me in doing NaNoWriMo would be nothing more than a personal challenge. The question of whether I do it or not is solely based on whether I want to take up the challenge as a personal goal. The side benefit is that I’d have another book under my belt (or a bunch of short stories). The negative is that I’d have to commit to a chunk of time to get it done. “Good” isn’t really a part of the plan. Whatever I write just “is”. Some will say it’s good some won’t get past the first chapter and most would ignore it because I have no name recognition and the Internet is awash with lots and lots of quality writing by thousands of people just like me, better than me, and worse than me. The chances of being “discovered” even if I write the greatest book ever written (judged so by some metric we don’t understand), those chances are close to nil.

      Besides, when the mood strikes, I write what I want (and like) no matter the time of year.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. AnnMarie says:

    Based on your musings about writing, “stuff came out and by my account and recollection, it came out good . . . I mean it flowed with a simplicity”, I think Frank Kafka has advise for you, “Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.”

    Louis L’Amour had something to say about that, too, “Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • disperser says:

      Well, that’s the idea behind NaNoWriMo.

      But, check those words . . . writing is not my “most intense passion”; it’s just something I do, like going to the bathroom or scratching my chin.

      L’Amour’s advice is great if writing is your vocation or job. If not, the obvious answer is a question: “Why?” or “What if I don’t feel like it?”


  3. Right on! Write on! and whatever you decide to do about NaNoWriMo…keep writing. You can always expand on a thought or a sentence or a paragraph or use it as a jumping off place for something different.

    I know you don’t want compliments…but I’m just stating fact…you DO have a gift for writing! And writers should write!

    I keep thinking (yes, I know that’s dangerous) you should gather some of your photos and short stories into a “coffee-table” type book. (Like you could do a Halloween book!) As you probably already know there are places you can self-publish books like that. I read A LOT of writers on WP and look at a lot of photographers photos on WP and your work is top notch.

    HUGS to you and Melisa and make it a great weekend!


  4. disperser says:

    An answer to all: I had removed my standard reminder regarding these kinds of posts and readers might not remember it. In summary, if the post sounds like a cry for encouragement or as if I’m conflicted about what I should be doing and looking for guidence . . . sorry about that, but it’s nothing like that.

    These posts are primarily for other writers; to inform (hence the links) and, in a way, encourage and reassure (other writers) by way (possibly) of a shared experience.

    If I’m not writing, it’s because I don’t feel like it.

    If it were a job, or I had a contract to write, I would be writing eight hours a day. It would be a chore but I would do it.

    If this was my primary goal in life (my passion), I’d be writing up a storm (actually, between comments here and comments elsewhere and emails, I write a lot!)

    If I seem to lament about not writing, rest assured that it’s not “Oh, woe is me for I want to write and I cannot!”

    Instead, it’s more like “Wouldn’t it be nice if I could motivate myself to write something? Yeah, it would, but I’m not worried about it.”

    A subtle but important distinction. Again, I appreciate all the suggestions, but if I write nothing for another whole year, remember . . . I might be heavy into photography, learning a new skill, reading, watching YouTube, or busy with life. Or, my writing muse is taking a nap as my YouTube-watching muse is working extra hard.

    Don’t feel bad for me because I don’t; I’m probably doing something I want to do.


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