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It’s that Time of Year Again!

October 27, 2014 by Kiersi

What time of year, you ask?

Well, it’s certainly almost Halloween:


And it’s also almost No-Shave November! (As a huge fan of the ol’ mustachio and a devout Portlander, this is my absolute favorite time of the year.)

No Shave November

But more importantly to our purposes here today, it’s also almost National Novel Writing Month! (God, really? Is it really NaNo time again? I feel like it was just last month. At least, the failure feels like it was last month.)

And I’m definitely participating again this year.


I don’t know why, really. Maybe I’m a glutton for punishment. Or I like to be one of the cool kids whining about meeting their daily word count. Or perhaps it’s that I need a good, old-fashioned arbitrary deadline to get my shit done.

No idea. But I’ve always really enjoyed NaNoWriMo. I like the community, I like the write-ins, and I definitely like the free encouragement flying around on Twitter. I like to imagine it’s all aimed directly at me.

But really—I think NaNo is a great opportunity for writers of all ilks. It’s a good way for new writers to get inspired, to keep working at it, and to finish their first project (and revel in the feeling of success and achievement, so they can get hooked like the rest of us mwahahaha). It’s also great to re-invigorate seasoned writers, to encourage us to get something finished faster or try something new we might not have tried otherwise.

Which leaves me in a bit of a pickle, frankly: I have a book I need to write. “Need” is, perhaps, not the right word—it’s a book I should write, a book I know I can write, a book that would accomplish a lot of the professional goals I have for myself (to keep making money, to start a new series, and to work for a certain publisher). It’s a book I’ve already got a firm idea for; a book my agent is psyched about. I’ve got a detailed outline in the works and I’ve figured out my characters and I’ve given it all a very thorough think-through in terms of series arc and character progression and dramatic build.

But then I have this other book. Yeah, you know what that tone means: it’s a heart book. It’s a book that won’t sell to anyone in particular and isn’t commercial-minded and blabbity blah blah.

I still want to write it.

No decision yet—but I’ve still got a few days. So while I’m mulling it over, I could use your input!

What are you planning to work on for NaNoWriMo this year? What kind of book is it? How much have you got planned, if any?


  1. rfeiertag says:


    I understand — I truly, truly understand all the reasons why you “should” spend NaNoWriMo writing the first book. That won’t be a wrong choice.

    BUT (and you knew that was coming) I think that this month is all about pursuing passion, inviting inspiration, writing riotously, haring after your heart, and using alliteration and assonance. I suspect that if you try to write the first book with any sense that it is taking you away from what’s calling to you during NNWM, it won’t turn out as you’d like and you’ll find the time wasted. If you devote yourself to book two for Nano, book one will still percolate on the back-burner of your brain and, come December, burst into brilliant bloom, brightening the bleak season then beginning.

    Here’s an idea: How much can you get done on it in the next three days? What if you hold the second book out to yourself as your reward for turning out terrific text for the first between now and Saturday?

    Unless of course you discover that what you really WANT to do is write the first. In that case, no worries.


    • Kiersi says:

      That’s truly great advice. I think I’m going to give both books a try and just see how it feels. And I really only need a few chapters of the first book for now anyhow, so I think I’ll do your idea, Ruth 🙂

  2. I am still debating on whether or not to participate in NaNo. Only because a new children’s book came to mind when I rescued my black kitty several weeks ago. I’m going back and forth.
    I think NaNo is definitely a great way for authors to encourage each other. And your right, it’s a fantastic way to simply get the work done!
    As for your current dilemma on which manuscript you should work on, I would say go with the one in your head the MOST. You know…. the one keeping you up all night and in your brain once you wake up in the morning. I did this last winter when I was torn between my romance outline and thriller epiphany. The thriller literally came to me out of know where. I think the universe handed it to me because it ended up being based on actual events and I had no idea until I was several chapters in. Spooky, eh?
    So I would say go with what is in your gut right now. But also think about the one story which will benefit the most from NaNo. The other book will always be there so take NaNo to really work out the story that is pulling you in and begging you to work on it.

    • Kiersi says:

      Thanks so much for the thoughtful comment, Gina. If you have even a tiny desire to participate, I think you should! It’s super fun (though ALSO a little difficult) and even if you don’t finish, at least you make some progress. If you have a book you want to work on but have had a hard time starting, it can help!

      You raise a good point. Passion goes a long way in getting something done. That’s super spooky! And cool, too. I love when manuscripts have their own life that we, the authors, are almost unaware of.

  3. Chrys Fey says:

    I never participated in NaNo and won’t this year, but maybe next year. I would love to experience the craziness of it. 😉 I agree with Gina on writing the one that is in your head the most, the one that seems to be yelling louder “WRITE ME! WRITE ME NOW!” That’s the one you’ll be able to put all of your attention and energy into.

    Good luck!!!

    • Kiersi says:

      It’s kind of crazy, but also really fun! (And, in the grand scheme of things, 1600 words each day isn’t all that much.) Thank you!! I’m wondering if I can do both!

  4. Helen Rena says:

    I’ve never done NaNo. Maybe some day.
    As for your question about projects, I would definitely write the one your agent is excited about because it means she can sell it, and if she sells that, she might be able to sell your next less-saleable project down the road. Just my two cents. 🙂

  5. I just finished drafting a book yesterday and my November is booked with editing jobs so no NaNo for me. I hear you though. I usually get two books ideas at the same time and struggle to decide which to write. Good luck!

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