Few things are as divisive among writers as the mere concept of NaNoWriMo. You either embrace it wholeheartedly as a fresh kick to your muse, or you think it’s an abysmal experiment for people who aren’t “real” writers. I have always been very pro-NaNo, because I think it’s a good ceremonial event and rite of passage.
A lot of anti-NaNo people take it a bit too literally, as if us pro-NaNos think we can only write a novel during November. Or that we only consider ourselves “writers” in November, then forgo writing the rest of the year. Are people who run marathons only capable of running 26 miles the day of the event? Of course not. They train for months. They run a lot of marathons in their own time, with only themselves to notice. But certainly doing it in an official, public way makes the accomplishment all the more real. And accomplishment aside, isn’t it fun to cross the finish line with other people too? Likewise, you don’t have to participate in a public event to be considered a real writer/marathon runner either. 26 miles, or 50k words, is an accomplishment regardless.
But I will be sitting NaNo out this year, because it simply doesn’t jive with 2015’s interests. I do have my next book in mind. I have it fully outlined. I have some early drafts of it, which I may or may not pull from. But 2015 needs to be the year I finish Paradisa, and I am fully invested in getting it ready for a copyeditor by the new year. Sure, it probably won’t be ready to query until May, but at least the meat of it can be finished by January. At least most of 2016’s work will be proofing, polishing, query-writing, and agent researching.
As for the next book? I’ll probably write the first draft in January-March. I’m not going to kill myself trying to do it all in one month, as I have some other endeavors to focus on. And with any luck, this one will reach the finish line a little faster than Paradisa, as it’s a memoir and I can’t change the plot too much ;)
I probably will return to NaNo next year, as I already have my next NaNo idea in mind. For the rest of you – good luck, stay strong, and reach whatever goal you’ve set for yourself!