Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Will I Take the Writing Pledge?

On Sunday, an annual competition called NaNoWriMo begins.  This is a competition against yourself - writers are challenged to write 50,000 words during the month of November.  The aim is to write, not to edit, not to perfect.

I've participated three times - in 2012, 2013 and 2014.  I do not know if I will try to participate this year.  On the one hand, my time is limited.  On the other hand a lot of people's time is limited.

If I write, I have more words written than if I don't write. 

If you look below, you will see the pledge NaNoWriMo asks us to take this year.  The part about the mockery if you don't succeed rubs me (to use a cliche) the wrong way.  I am way past winning or losing - until I realize I am not.  I'm sure it's meant to be light hearted, but right now, it is hitting a nerve.  A deep nerve.  Because I haven't won by winning three times.

I've been a "rebel" in the past, writing non fiction (a memoir) one year.  Last year, I wrote what started as a dystopian novel of Brooklyn in the 2060's, and that manuscript still, sometimes, calls to me, asking me to revisit and edit.

Believe it or not, my long suffering spouse doesn't mind if I try it again, despite obligations that take up an increasing amount of time.

But will I do it?  

I have never brought out any of the other manuscripts to edit and try to polish up, either.   NaNoWriMo, for me, would just be a rerun, and not an opportunity for growth.  If I want to grow as a writer, I must grow past untouched manuscripts on a laptop.

I will announce my decision on Thursday. 

In the meantime, I will leave you with the pledge participants are supposed to take this year.

"I hereby pledge my intent to write a 50,000-word novel in one month’s time.
By invoking an absurd, month-long deadline on such an enormous undertaking, I understand that notions of “craft,” “brilliance,” and “competency” are
to be chucked right out the window, where they will remain, ignored, until
they are retrieved for the editing process. I understand that I am a talented
person, capable of heroic acts of creativity, and I will give myself enough time
over the course of the next month to allow my innate gifts to come to the surface, unmolested by self-doubt, self-criticism, and other acts of self-bullying.
During the month ahead, I realize I will produce clunky dialogue, clichéd characters, and deeply flawed plots. I agree that all of these things will
be left in my rough draft, to be corrected and/or excised at a later point. I
understand my right to withhold my manuscript from all readers until I deem
it completed. I also acknowledge my right as author to substantially inflate
both the quality of the rough draft and the rigors of the writing process should
such inflation prove useful in garnering me respect and attention, or freedom
from participation in onerous household chores.
I acknowledge that the month-long, 50,000-word deadline I set for
myself is absolute and unchangeable, and that any failure to meet the deadline, or any effort on my part to move the deadline once the adventure has
begun, will invite well-deserved mockery from friends and family. I also acknowledge that, upon successful completion of the stated noveling objective, I am entitled to a period of gleeful celebration and revelry, the duration
and intensity of which may preclude me from participating fully in workplace activities for days, if not weeks, afterward."

Are you going to take the pledge?  Do you plan to participate in NaNoWriMo?


  1. 50k in a month is defnetely awe inspiring! Here is wishing u all the ver best

  2. I tried this a couple of times and gave up pretty soon. But since you've done it before you're going in with your eyes open and that's good too.
    Good luck if you are participating, Alana.

  3. I love the idea of NaNoWriMo, and even gave it a try one year - I think I lasted two days! I really struggle with writing fiction, so I think I'll stick to my blogging challenges for the time being. Looking forward to seeing if you end up giving it a shot this year!

  4. No, I don't do NaNo. Good luck to you, though, if you choose to partake again. (My reasons for not doing so have to do with how I write.)

  5. I love the women who undertake the challenge - they have a lot more dedication than I do I'm afraid!

  6. I think this method of writing must really free you up, if you can go with it.


Thank you for visiting! Your comments mean a lot to me, and I appreciate each one. These comments are moderated, so they may not post for several hours. If you are spam, you will find your comments in my compost heap, where they will finally serve a good purpose.