Why I Didn’t NaNo This Year

Senior Nina Martineck has already published a novel, but, with plans for more, she participated in National Novel Writing Month last year. Now, she has learned which methods work best for her.

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Why I Didn’t NaNo This Year

National Novel Writing Month attracted 402,142 participants last year.

National Novel Writing Month attracted 402,142 participants last year.

National Novel Writing Month attracted 402,142 participants last year.

National Novel Writing Month attracted 402,142 participants last year.

N. Martineck '19, Writer

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November has just drawn to a close, and lots of brave, successful writers have taken the beginning of December as the time to share their projects started or completed through NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month.

 

During NaNoWriMo, writers set goals for themselves, often in the form of word count. The overarching goal is to complete a novel in a month. And lots of people do it. They produce incredible works over the course of thirty days.

 

But why, do you ask, am I not one of them? I write, like, all the time, so why am I not a participant in what is arguably the largest writing club in the world?

 

2017 was my first, and last, year participating in NaNoWriMo. In theory, it seemed like a great idea. I had only a few chapters of Knowers Book Two completed, and I wanted to get more of it done. It seemed like a good way to get in touch with other authors and advance my skills. I signed up for it on November 3rd because I kind of forgot November was a thing until then.

 

It took about three more days for it to become the bane of my existence.

 

I was a junior in high school in November 2017. For those of you who have completed junior year, you know that this wasn’t the time to try to write 50,000 words of a novel. I was also in a musical that opened the second weekend of November, editor of my school’s literary magazine, and taking three AP classes (including AP Chemistry, which was my personal hell). Knowers Book Two was only a distraction from the stuff I had to do.

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Writing became a chore for me. I wrote words I didn’t even need to write because I desperately wanted to meet the goal I’d set at the start of the month. I included pointless details that just became muddled minutia in the wake of all the actual substance. My word count was eighty percent nonsense.

 

By partaking in something I thought would spring myself forward, I set myself back. From December to March, I was editing all the mistakes I made at four in the morning during NaNoWriMo. As I go through one of my final sets of revisions, I still find pointless details that are probably leftovers from NaNo.

 

NaNo works for some writers. It acts as a catalyst for people who can’t or won’t write without it being mandated. I am not one of those people. I write between calc homework and gov notes. I scribble down ideas in the margins of my engineering notebook that will be typed into the manuscript later. Writing just can’t be my focus right now. It’s a pastime, something I do when I can’t take homework anymore. NaNo is not conducive to my writing habits.

From December to March, I was editing all the mistakes I made at four in the morning during NaNoWriMo.”

— Nina Martineck

 

And that’s totally cool.

 

To me, one of the coolest things about writing is how everyone does it differently. I write sporadically. Some people work chapters at a time. Other people sit for hours and pump out half a draft. I have to reread a chapter once I’ve finished it, but other people don’t read anything until the whole piece is done. I get stuck on typos and have to fix them immediately because the red squiggle drives me insane, but other people have to keep plowing ahead or they’ll stop rolling.

 

If you NaNo’ed this year, I give you a major congratulations. That’s a huge accomplishment! And if you didn’t NaNo, I also congratulate you. You knew it wouldn’t work for your habits!

 

It’s cool that I write my way, and it’s cool that you don’t.

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