I've been doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) for almost ten years now, and while I haven't completed the challenge every year, this is the first year I've actively backed out. While I love the endeavor and plan to return to it next year, I simply cannot do it now. Here's why.
1). I'm Fresh Off Of A Brand-New Publication
On November 3, I published my second dark epic fantasy novella Universal Warrior: The Ring of Asarra. This is the first work I've ever charged for under my own name. Whoever said writing was half the work of an indie author wasn't kidding. Beyond the writing and publishing of the novella, I'm completely responsible for all of my own marketing, and to be honest, I never thought about what I'd do after the novella was released. So I find myself scrambling to build from the initial surge and raise awareness (and hopefully sales) for the story.
It's almost a full-time venture on its own.
2). I'd Rather Focus On One Excellent Project Than Three Average Ones
Recently, I had to concede that I'm not ready to write a full-fledged novel. I'm not sure if it's a mental block, fear of failure, or whatever. I have a hard time keeping track of so many events and characters in a single story, and it led to many unfinished projects (that I will complete one day).
What I can do, I've found, is write novellas (between 22-25k words) that tie together into one larger tale. I initially wanted to do two novellas and one short story this month, and about a third of the way through the first novella, I realized that there was no way I could complete three novellas worth reading.
I am establishing a brand based on quality, rather than quantity. My entire focus is to one quality project at a time instead of churning out three pieces of garbage that drain editing time and resources.
3). I Can't Push Life Out Of The Way This Time
I am starting a new life across the state with my girlfriend and (God willing) my youngest son. I am very close to gaining full custody of him. I am also entering the final stages of my divorce (which I imagine is like the end of DC's Final Crisis, when Darkseid was falling through reality and taking everything with him). Traditionally, I could brush aside everything and back-burner the day job to make NaNoWriMo happen, but with people depending on my actions, I cannot be that reckless anymore.
I love NaNoWriMo and I've met some truly wonderful people during the endeavor. I recommend it for everyone who's even thought about writing a book, but don't be ashamed if you can't make the goal.
There's always next year.
Thanks for reading.