NaNoWriMo? Nah. This November? MiniNano!

It’s November: the start of the holiday mayhem, the chill of winter, and NaNoWriMo.

I love the idea of National Novel Writing Month. Its mission appeals to me, even though I’m a nonfiction writer:

“NaNoWriMo helps you track your progress, set milestones, connect with other writers in a vast community, and participate in events that are designed to make sure you finish.”

Write every day, end up with a draft of a book at the end of the month, woo hoo!

I have never managed to get anywhere close to that.

Two years ago, I documented the number of words I was writing on Instagram, as a way to get some external accountability. I still ended up with zero words most days. Ditto for the time friends and I formed a NaNoWriMo group.

Why can’t I manage to even write most days, even with external motivation?

Part of it, I think, is November itself. When I was teaching at a university, November was the peak of the semester, when everyone starts melting down, me included.

November includes Thanksgiving here in the States, which becomes a weird kind of half week, during which I often traveled.

The other struggle for me is the pressure of producing daily doesn’t work. Perhaps it’s my ADHD brain’s search for novelty, and resistance to structure, but the “Break The Chain” method does not work for me. I keep up the chain for a few days, break it, and then abandon the project.

As the end of this year arrives, I find myself with a draft of my hybrid of memoir and cultural criticism, I’m Here to Make Friends, that is so close to being done. Right now, I have:

  • The first third of the book is in excellent shape, revised and ready
  • The middle third is written, and needs one solid pass of revision
  • The back third is in fragments, and the key chapters are not yet written

I desperately want to finish this draft, so I can revise it. School-age Andy would be shocked to learn that revision is the most fun part of writing. Staring at a blank page? Not fun!

Once I have that draft, I can start submitting to agents, and I’d like to do that starting in January. This is all very doable.

So here I am at the start of NaNoWriMo, the perfect time to just write those last parts. Just get it done. Yet, the idea of writing every day paralyzes me. The first day is over, and have I written anything in the book? Nope!

But I have a plan, and it seems doable: 10,000 words in just six days.

This was the brainchild of the novelist Andrea Bartz, who first proposed it on Threads: “Instead of marathon-ing the entire month, we’ll each pick six days (any six days!) to write 1,667+ words.”

As I commented, this seems so doable. So I’m in, and will once again be posting my progress on Instagram and on Threads, and perhaps elsewhere.

Six days, six brand-new chapters, done with the rough draft. How exciting!

If you’d like to join or follow along, the hashtag is #mininano. And if you have fun strategies for getting the work done, please do share. I love a new strategy!

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