Novels and NaNoWriMo

I follow a lot of bloggers who are also writers.  Some of them are published, and some of them aren’t.  But they all write as a passion, and that means every November, a lot of them start talking about their word count, their characters, and their plot lines.  I start seeing huge lists of writing tips and motivation on Twitter.  Things like Dory singing “Just keep writing!” fill up my social media feeds.  Every November, tons of people around the world worry and fret about whether they can write 50,000 words in one month.

That’s because November is NaNoWriMo — National Novel Writing Month.  If you’ve never heard of it, you can read about it here.  (It’s not too late to join if you also want to participate!)

I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo (which is NaNoWriMo’s summer counterpart) the summer before I started college.  I did not make 50,000 words.  I think I wrote between 20k or 30k, which is still quite an accomplishment.  But I’m probably exaggerating.  And I haven’t participated since.

I’ve wanted to be a published author as long as I can remember.  Books and words are definitely my first love, and I used to write stories all the time.  My problem was finishing them.  So I thought NaNo would be perfect for me.  Just churn out the first draft, and the first step is done.  It seems a lot less daunting that way.

So why did I stop participating?  Well, for one, I started college.  It always seems like fall semesters are the busiest, and writing however-many words a day on top of homework and extracurriculars is just too much.  November is also when a lot of semester projects start being due, and those just take priority.

But the other reason is I’ve lost my interest in writing novels for now.  I still read them all the time, of course — I would go insane if I couldn’t read others’ stories.  I love novels with all my heart and will read them till the day I die.  But I just don’t know if I want to write one.

Obviously, I enjoy writing.  I have a blog, after all.  But lately my focus has shifted from novels to writing about other things.  My favorite posts to write are memoirs, and I’ve toyed with the idea of writing a book-length one of my own someday.  I’ve though about extensively interviewing my parents and writing their story.  And, being in business school, I’m surrounded by marketing blogs and content creation ideas that center around the goal of appealing to the consumer by helping them with a problem.  I would love to have a job where I create blog posts and social media content for a company.

But novel writing is not my thing anymore.  I’m more invested in what is going on around me than I am in my own head.  I don’t get ideas for stories and characters anymore; I get ideas for blog posts and essays and research papers.  This is probably more a consequence of who I am around more than it is my ability to be creative, like I sometimes tell myself.  I think if I had been an English major I would still think like a novelist.  But I’m majoring in Marketing, and while I may someday be able to write a novel about that, right now my focus is on other things.

However, to all the WriMos out there furiously typing away, best of luck to you!  Even though I do not participate anymore, I highly respect those who do and cannot wait to read about all you are up to this November.  Who knows, maybe I’ll be reading your book one day.  And maybe, just maybe, in a year or five or ten, I’ll join you.

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