It’s November, and a lot of authors in my Facebook feed are participating with great excitement in this month-long writing binge. My hat is off to them and I hope they can achieve the outcome they desire.
That said, I feel not the slightest urge to join in with this crowd. For one thing, writing a novel in a month seems like a horrible thing to me. Because I absolutely love working on the rough draft of a project. It is what I live for. That bubbling creativity and the ability to lose myself in my work for hours of blissful writing. A novel for me can take up to six months to write. Sometimes longer. And I have no desire to cram all that wonderful creative energy into one thirty-day-long binge session.
My kids and husband would not thank me for it. As it is, during the months that I am working on a project, they feel neglected when I focus on my laptop every day, so excited by my work that I am oblivious to the things going on around me. But at least I can put in a good two or three hours and then bring myself back to reality and focus on the people who make my life truly wonderful.
I also have Multiple Sclerosis, which means I barely have the energy for my part time retail job, family responsibilities, social commitments AND writing. But I can usually pull it off. I’ve written three full-length novels and five novellas in the past seven years. I know there are authors who are much more productive than I am, and that’s fantastic. But considering all the other important things going on in my life, I’m pretty happy with what I’ve been able to do. And with the fact that I’ve enjoyed it and it hasn’t become a drain on my energy, or something that I’m required to do to keep up appearances or to be successful.
In a financial way, I am not a successful writer. My royalty statements each quarter are depressingly small. I’m not breaking even. It costs me more to order promo material, attend conventions, and keep up my website than I make writing.
But it’s something I love, and it’s important to me, and I have stories to tell. So I keep doing it. The pleasure of writing is what keeps me going and I feel like giving myself a thirty day time limit to write a full-length novel would take all of the pleasure out of it.
But for those participating, who may have important reasons for doing so, or may respond to pressure better than I do, or who may not have as many other demands on their time, I say, go for it! Just don’t be disappointed if you can’t accomplish this herculean task and keep your story going into the next month, and the next month, and the next.
It doesn’t matter how long it takes you to write a novel. It only matters that you write one.