I don’t do nanowrimo (but you probably should!)

If you’re doing Nano, you should have 5,001 words written by the end of today.

I hope those little updates don’t bother you because I’m going to keep doing them for every post the rest of the month. You know, to help you keep track.

I have the utmost respect for Nanowrimo. It inspires new writers to get started, helps them push through that ever-difficult beginning, and is just fun. It’s all about everyone reaching their own personal finish line.

That being said, I haven’t participated in Nano for several years now. I’ve done Nano Edmo for two years straight, but haven’t done Nanowrimo in a very long time. Here’s why I don’t, and why I think you probably should.

Why I don’t do Nano anymore

The years that I did Nanowrimo were quite difficult for me because I write longhand. That is crazy hard when you’re doing Nano because you can’t scan a page and put it into the word counter. And I can’t work on a computer for a rough draft, I just can’t do it. For one thing, I can’t carry a computer with me everywhere, and I find myself incapable of writing on a tablet. For another, I feel that my words don’t flow as well on a keyboard as in a notebook. And finally, I find that the act of typing in messy pages of text is the best and most in-depth way to do a second draft.

Nevertheless, I really tried to make it work for three years. I stopped trying when I looked at 50,000 words of Starting Chains rough draft, realized it was all shit, and threw it away to start from scratch. That was the last time I participated in Nanowrimo.

I understand that you don’t really have to use the official word counter. I get that I could just count my words every day and not officiate it. I think I’d rather cut my wrists than count every word I write, but I could do it. So the fact that I write longhand shouldn’t really stop me. Here’s the real reason why I don’t do Nano anymore. It doesn’t always mesh with my writing schedule.

Take this year, for instance. I’m working on a rough draft right now, of Station Central. (Station 86, book 4. Don’t forget, Book 3 starts on November 29th.) But I’ll actually be done with it pretty soon since I started in October.

Could I have waited for November first to start Station Central? Sure. But I’d have wasted all that time, and I didn’t really want to do that. I had an outline, and I was ready to go. Now, I’m almost ready to start on the second draft of Sandwashed. (The first of the new duality, set after the Woven Trilogy. The second of the Woven Trilogy, Starting Chains, is coming soon.) I don’t want to delay that or start it early so I can do Nanoedmo in full this month. I need to work on the project I’m ready to work on when I need to work on it. I can’t stop or start a project just because it’s November.

Why you should

Let’s be clear, I’m kind of weird. Most writers have no problem writing rough on a computer. (But if you do, it’s nothing to be ashamed of.) Most writers don’t feel itchy when they’re not working on a project. Some writers finish a book and then don’t start on another one right away if you can believe that. So, for lots of writers, Nanowrimo works just fine.

For instance, if you haven’t started your novel, but you want to, then Nanowrimo is right for you. It’s the magic of a deadline, and you’d be amazed how motivational that is. You need to get your outline done and get started! No more hem-hawing, no more maybe someday. Here is the day you’re starting, right now! And by that I mean, if you haven’t’ started on your novel on November first, start today. We are only three days in, you can catch up. Just start writing!

If you don’t know if you can really finish your novel, you should also do Nanowrimo. Maybe you’ve started rough drafting, and you have some notes. You have an idea of the character’s, maybe a vague idea of the ending. But you’re not really working on it like you should. You might take it out and play with it sometimes when you need to feel creative. Well, now’s the time to knock out 50,000 words of your little project. I imagine that you’ll find you want to keep going after that.

If you’re not really sure that you’re even a writer anyway, but you really want to give it a try, then I can’t suggest enough that you do Nanowrimo, right now! Trust me, if there are two things that will inspire you to write, it’s a deadline and other writers cheering you on! You will be inspired, you will be motivated! You will be a writer!

Here’s some good news

Just in case you’re still on the fence about this whole Nanowrimo thing, let me give you a piece of inspiration. You know that book I talk about all the time? Broken Patterns?

It started out as a Nanowrimo novel.

So if anyone tells you that its’ a waste of time, that Nanowrimo books don’t get published, you can tell them that they are dead wrong.


5 thoughts on “I don’t do nanowrimo (but you probably should!)

Add yours

  1. I totally respect people who do this, but for me it doesn’t work. Every day is writing day for me, and I know my limits. If I produce more than a few thousand words in a day it ultimately is garbage that needs to be omitted anyway. I do know people who have used NaNoWriMo as a way to get back into their stories.


  2. I definitely considered trying NaNo this year for the first time but I’m really enjoying my balance of writing, reading, reviewing and getting into beta reading. I also have a baby to look after 😛 I feel like the pressure of a deadline might make me enjoy my writing less..
    that being said, I’m still keeping track of how many words I write during November just to see how I would have done 😛 I only did 15k in October so I’m aiming for 25k in November 🙂

    I really admire that you write your first draft by hand and the typing it up for second draft makes a lot of sense. If you really did want to keep track of your word count you could probably just count a few pages, average it out and then just estimate what you would have done 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really wanted to try it for the first time this year, and your deadline explanation is probably the unconscious reason that I was waiting for it… But it’ll have to wait for 2018, since I’m head over heels with my children’s book publishing now (we print tomorrow!). Thank you for this motivation talk though. I am putting it on the shelf for next year :0)


    1. Congratulations on the book launch! That’s so exciting. I’d definitely advise checking out some of the other writing contests that are held through the year if you’re eager to get started before then.


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