Justin Tadlock

(Probably) No NaNoWriMo This Year

Papers on a desk. Man in suit holding a fountain pen.

I’ve been getting the itch again. For the better part of this year, I’ve been looking forward to tackling National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) once again this November. I’ve been running over plot scenarios in my head for months. I even took the time to write a few down.

After winning for the first time in 2018, I got a good feel for how the process works. I learned more about who I am as a writer. I picked up more tips and techniques from the NaNoWriMo community than I ever learned in university-level courses. More importantly, I laid out a goal for myself and smashed it.

The most important thing I learned from NaNoWriMo last year is that I have the ability to write every day if I simply focus. The skills I picked up on that journey have been invaluable to me in the past month or so.

Like I said, I’ve been getting the itch, the itch to write a novel-length work again. Unfortunately, my plate is full this year.

There really is no better time to write than when you’re busy. There’s something magical that happens when you’re so limited by time that you can’t stop to think or be bothered by any distractions. You fit all you can into tiny writing windows. Five minutes here. Half an hour there. However, there does come a point where you have limits.

I started a full-time writing gig in September for WP Tavern, which is an online news publication focused around the WordPress platform. The job provides me the opportunity to practice my craft in a professional setting. No, it’s not fiction. However, it is a real job where I get paid and everything for writing. It’s a challenge to wake up every day knowing I need to deliver a new story to our readers. It’s a challenge that I welcome.

I’m also working nights and weekends on another project in which I’m contractually obligated. The first “draft” of this project will end around mid-December. There’ll be edits and such into the new year. I enjoy the work, but it doesn’t leave me much of a life off the computer. This project just happened to get delayed a couple of months and threw my scheduling off. The timing sucks, but I didn’t want to pass on the opportunity. I promise I’ll unveil this “secret” project at some point.

Do I have time to participate in NaNoWriMo? Absolutely. Yes.

I could give up the little TV time I have each week. I could drop my reading hour every night. I’m sure I could squeeze it into my schedule somehow. However, I need to have some balance in my life. I need some time each day to unwind. I don’t see that happening if I do NaNoWriMo.

The more I think about NaNoWriMo the more I want to do it. Even as I write this post, I’m almost to the point of just scrapping this crazy notion of skipping the 2019 event. Dang it. I’m now telling myself to give it an attempt…No…Must resist the pull…It’s too strong…