I’ve done NaNoWriMo only once in my life. It took a long time to work up to ever getting involved in it, but once I was in the thick of it, I found the experience hugely rewarding. I even got a viable book out of it.
November 2011 was not a good month for me, either. I was in the middle of a really nasty work project that was sucking up all my day hours. I got sick just before the month began and started off with a terrible head cold. As a result of that cold plus stress, I had my first-ever case of shingles—which helped me stay glued to my desk, but boy was that unpleasant. I don’t know what I was thinking, jumping right into it, but I did, and it was great.
Since then I haven’t done it again. The main reason: either I didn’t have a good story germ to run with, or I had started another project and didn’t want to jump away from it. So for the past four years, I’ve left the contest alone. And honestly, I’d love to do it again. So I’m sitting here, practically on the eve of the contest, brooding on it.
What I think I would like to do is work on a prospective sequel to Below. I’ve started that a dozen times, but it always fizzles out. I need a better plan for the book. I need to actually plan. As a pantser, this is not the way I prefer to do things, but I think it’s the only way that sequel is ever getting written. But do I have gall to plan it out and jump into NaNoWriMo now?
This coming November is not looking great either. My extended family is going through some hard times right now. I have a pretty big milestone birthday coming. Thanksgiving—well that happens every NaNoWriMo, so it doesn’t count. At work I’m trying to get the software to the next stable release, and I have a bunch of other side projects to work on too, some of which need to be addressed sooner. (It’s not on par with the project five years ago, though. Thank goodness!) And I’m busy getting marketing plans together for Below. But most of these things are looking to me like excuses not to do it, not reasons, except for the marketing thing which is actually a pretty big deal.
Maybe a better reason: I think a sequel to Below might not be the right fit for NaNo. It helped last time that I got to go zany. So if I do this, maybe I should work on a sequel to The Affix instead—which I’ve also tried to start many times, and failed. There’s a universe where absurdity and frenetic pacing work in my favor.
I don’t know if I have the mental stamina to do it this year. I don’t know if I have the physical stamina. But I kind of want to find out.