Two weeks ago at dinner I announced to my family, “I’m not going to do Nanowrimo this year.”  Three hands froze in midair, forks halfway to mouths.  David said, “Can you do that?”  in the sort of voice he’d employ if I’d suggested a voyage to the center of the earth.  I breezily brushed the disbelief aside, listing all of my very good reasons for not doing Nanowrimo this year.  These reasons are still valid, by the way:

1.  I’ve done Nanowrimo for three years now.  Every year I ‘won’ Nanowrimo, but ended up with an unfinished draft of something with enough promise that I wanted to complete it.  Which means that I already have two novel manuscripts on my desk – one which I’m actively revising, and one that is on a road trip through my subconscious trying to find itself and its true purpose in life.  (The other is actually done and seeking publication.)

2. Nanowrimo will distract from the work in progress.  There is no way I am going to find time to work on Gatekeeper while simultaneously tackling 1667 daily words on another project.  (I know – I tried to do it last year)

3. I was reminded by my family that Nanowrimo is just a teeny bit hard on them. 

4. I already write nearly every day.  I don’t really need the motivation.

As I said, due to the above very good reasons, I planned on “just saying no” to Nanowrimo this year.  But weird things started to happen.  As I was completing my morning yoga routine the other day, I put my hands together and bowed my head, planning to say “Namaste.”  What came out was “Nanowrimo.”  I kid you not.  Then friends started bugging me.  “Come on, it’ll be fun,” they said.  I found myself inexplicably on the Nanowrimo site two days ago updating my Buddy List and my profile.  And then I read this post by Jamie Grove at How Not to Write.  And at that point it was all up with me.

So here, for your reading pleasure, are my very valid reasons for succumbing to the lure of Nanowrimo:

1.  I owe my writing soul to Nanowrimo.  It’s true.  It took me ten years to write my first novel, the one that is still staring at me from its cage in the desk drawer and demanding a little daylight.  After that I was a sporadic closet writer, starting things and not finishing them, writing in isolation, never believing that in the demands of my hectic life I could ever find time to really write.  My first year of doing Nanowrimo taught me that 1667 words a day really isn’t that hard to do.  It taught me how to bash my critic over the head and lock him in the cellar.  It brought me into community with other people who write.  It taught me to stop being so serious about writing and to have some fun.  It produced a volume of work to which I have been steadily adding ever since.  It made me come out of the closet and declare myself as a real, bonafide writer with dreams of being published.

2. All of my friends are doing it.  I have been unsuccessful at creating a writing community in this town,  (honestly, I haven’t tried all that hard, but still)  and I love the sense of community that happens with Nanowrimo.  And this year, so many of you that I’ve come to know through your Blogs are participating too and I want to be in on the action. 

3.  I’ve been getting way too serious about my writing lately.  I think ‘intense’ and ‘obsessive’ would be accurate adjectives, in fact.  So stepping back for a minute, taking a breath, and writing just for the fun of it would probably be good for me and my writing.  A dose of creative adrenaline, that’s for me.

4. I’m extremely competitive.  Okay, this is probably not a good reason to engage, but it’s definitely a contributing factor.  I can’t just sit by and watch everybody else write their little hearts out while I watch from the sidelines.  It just ain’t in my nature.

All of which led to the decision to get on board the Nanowrimo train.  And all of which left me, also, with the dilemma of being three days away from the starting gate with absolutely no idea of what I’m going to write about.  I thrashed around a little bit with my journal, and came up with a plan.  “Keep it fun, keep it stupid,” I said to myself.  “The last thing you need is another unfinished novel cluttering up your brain.”  So I came up with a plan.  12 song titles chosen at random from my son’s classic Rock album collection as the chapter titles.  One Tarot card chosen at random as a guiding theme.  An idea pulled from PostSecret as a starting point.  And then see what I can do with that, just as an exercise in creativity.  Not for Publication.

Fun, I thought.  And then I had an IDEA.  You know, the kind that comes out of the blue, gets in your face and screams  “write this!  Write this!”  Here’s the problem:  it’s a GOOD IDEA.  The kind I would get all serious about, and have to turn into a Great Work of Literary Fiction.  And I still have these other works in progress on my desk…

Conflict.  Ambivalence.  Psychic Dissonance.  So far I am resisting the good idea.  I’ll write it down, tell it to wait its turn.  And then I guess we’ll see who’s stronger – it, or me.