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Why I’m Not Doing NaNoWriMo 2019

This is probably one of the hardest writing decisions I’ve ever had to make, but I’m not doing NaNoWriMo 2019.

When I was planning for NaNoWriMo this year, I had to make a really tough decision. I knew that coming into the fall semester of senior year, I would have a lot to do. Not only are three of my hardest class all in this semester, I also stepped into a new role as Editor-in-Chief of the student magazine.

It took a lot of planning, talking to recently graduated seniors, consulting with friends, and thinking it over before I finally decided that it wouldn’t be possible for me to participate this year. Well, I could participate, but I definitely wouldn’t win.

You might be wondering, “Why not participate anyways? It’s not all about winning.” The answer to that is simply that I’m too competitive of a person to do something like that and not try to win. Maybe if it was Camp NaNoWriMo, I might still have joined and tried to make the most of the month, but 50,000 words is too big of a commitment right now. With three big writing projects already scheduled as part of my semester, I knew it would be nearly impossible to add this on top of that.

My senior seminar class requires me to write a 15-20 page research paper by the end of the semester. It’s not the hardest thing in the world, but I do have to write a survey, compile answers, analyze the data, and turn all of that into the written part of my paper. Plus, I have to set up appointments with my college’s career center to get certain assignments done, and I need to update my portfolio/résumé before the end of November. None of these are particularly hard assignments, but they do require a lot of time out of my schedule.

I’m also currently taking Media Law, one of the most reading intensive classes of my college career. Taking into account that it’s also a lot of legal terms, it doesn’t always make for the most fun homework (sorry Dr. Dixon). For this class, I also have a big paper that’s about 15-18 pages about a case of my choosing relating to media law. I’ve come to find that legal research might not be my strongest area. I also happened to pick a case that has only 10 sources, giving me exactly the minimum that I need for the paper and not much of anything else.

Let’s be real though, those two papers are double-spaced and it’s not actually going to take up that much time to write them. If you remember from last year, I wrote 21K words in my NaNoWriMo project on the very last day to hit the word count and win. Not planning on doing that for my papers (I also have checkpoints to hit), but I could if I had to. So why not try anyways?

I’m already re-writing a novel for my writing seminar, which is the marker for finishing my minor in creative writing. It’s not a huge word count because I got to set all the goals for the assignment, but it does already have me working on a novel this fall. So why not make it my NaNoWriMo project? Because there’s no way I have the time to write this on top of two big papers. I think my estimated goal for this project is currently 10,000 words, and that already feels like a stretch. 2,000 words every other week isn’t a lot unless it’s this semester, in which case, it’s a lot.

Add the fact that I work two jobs on campus, I just couldn’t bring myself to commit to writing 50K words when I knew that I wouldn’t hit the goal and would be upset with myself. So I’m breaking my 5-year streak to take a break from drafting a new novel and focus on re-writing an old one. Also, I didn’t have an idea for a novel this year, so I decided that working on an old one for my writing seminar would be a big enough project to make/keep me happy.

This is all basically a very long way to say that I’m still writing and working on something, but it’s not NaNoWriMo related. If you’re wondering what writing-related stuff I work on when I’m not drafting or revising, you can visit The Pulse to see my weekly column and any other online articles I’ve written. It also has digital copies of the magazine that you can check out. We’re currently a little behind with getting the recent issues of the magazine up because of a dumb program failure, but you can see our previous issues and articles I’ve written.

As sad as it makes me to forego NaNoWriMo this year (especially now they they’re given the website a gorgeous makeover), I’m glad that I’m focusing on my papers and the re-write for my classes.


Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year or working on any big writing projects?

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