This pretty much sums up my feelings for NaNoWriMo.

I’ve signed up for NaNoWriMo every year for the past three or four years. I get all the emails about it. I hype myself up. At the start of the month, though, I always find myself busy with other project, and about a week or two in I decide that it’s too late to start now. Better luck next year.

For those of you who aren’t really into fiction writing, NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month. During the month of November, participants sit down and try to write at least 50,000 words. That sounds like a lot, but really, that’s just 100 500-word articles that you don’t have to do any research to write. The point here isn’t to have a polished novel on December 1. The point is to have masses of words, even if they are pretty shitty, which you can edit to find the real gems and, hopefully, you can create a real novel using those gems someday. A novel that is much less shitty than what you first wrote.

Keeping in mind that I’ve never participated myself due to lack of time and motivation, I see a number of benefits to NaNoWriMo:

  • You’re part of a community of people, encouraging you to write.
  • You have an end goal and a deadline you have to reach.
  • Books that have been written (started, really) during NaNoWriMo have gone on to be published and have even hit the best sellers list.

That said, I’m not completely sold. I do see the benefits of writing as fast as you can, going back to fix mistakes later. Free writing can be great. But a month of freewriting? It seems like a lot. If all you have after a month, when you’re done editing out the crap, is a few pages of dialouge and some plot points, was your time wasted? Maybe. For me, my fiction-writing time is better spent being more thoughtful about what I write rather than frantically trying to hit a word count.

Others write differently; this I know. I think the main reason that I’ve never participated in NaNoWriMo is that, at the end of the day, I’m just not convinced that it is a good way for me to get my ideas out on paper. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’ll actually participate this year and be converted forever.

Do you participate in NaNoWriMo? Why or why not?

A version of this post, written by me, was first published on b5media’s Bizzia website. It is reposted here with permission.

  1. It‘s quite in here! Why not leave a response?