Friday, October 14, 2011

NaNoWriMo: The Binge and Purge of Wannabe Writers

NaNoWriMo--National Novel Writing Month--is starting in just a few weeks. For those of you who don't know, NaNoWriMo (or just "NaNo") challenges would-be authors to write an entire novel in a month, with a goal of 50,000 words. (Which is only 1/3 of a novel if you're writing epic fantasy. Just saying.)

I've had friends who have committed to NaNo, sometimes triumphing, sometimes quitting half-way through. Writing 50k words in a month is quite a feat, and props to anyone who succeeds!

I, personally, have never participated in NaNo, and I never plan to. It's not my cup of tea. My philosophy is that, if you want to write a book, write one. Now. Don't wait until November. Daily word counts are what get novels finished, not 30-day Blitzkriegs.

Not to say NaNoWriMo isn't useful. It helps a lot of new writers get off on the right foot. I think the only book my friend Kossie ever finished was her NaNo novel. If you need social pressure to get the juices flowing, sign up--the site has all sorts of knickknacks to keep you writing and keep you motivated. (Just make sure you do the "binging" now, or you'll get serious writer's block. Author Cameron Chapman shares some NaNo advice in his new survival guide.)

What are your thoughts on NaNoWriMo, and are you participating this year?


  1. I'm doing it! For the first time, actually, but not because I can't write a novel. I'm actually really good at setting goals and meeting them. My problem is my inner editor doesn't let me free-write, or "lay the tracks," as my crit group calls it.

    Soooo, they challenged me to Nano-what's-it so I could practice silencing my inner editor. *dies*

    Thanks for the survival guide link!


  2. Ah, I never thought of using NaNo for that, but it's a great idea. I should make my sister sign up.... ;)

  3. I once committed to a half NaNo--25K. Novembers have never been good for me as far as spare time goes. I completed my half NaNo and it gave me the habit of writing daily, which was what I needed. I didn't finish the novel I started for NaNo until the following summer, but without the habit I created with social pressure I wouldn't have been able to.

    Now that I edit instead of write, I recommend NaNoWriMo to people who have trouble creating a habit of daily writing, but I recommend it the same way I recommend goals generally. NaNo just has the advantage of group goal setting.

  4. Thinking about it. I have a new idea that doesn't require nearly as much research as my others, so I might try to just push it out. It's humor/chicklit, though and I don't really know if I have the ability to write that. So, investing only a month in it might be the for the best.

  5. I think nanowrimo gives a lot of would-be writers a good kick in the pants to start writing, and that's a good thing. Lately, it also seems to be a great way to be part of a writerly community. I agree, though; it's probably not for me, at least not this year. I'm already on a fairly rigorous writing schedule, so starting something from scratch would only slow me down.

    What I'm REALLY interested in doing is nashostomo, a month where the goal is to write 30 original short stories. Now that's an event that could really help my short story writing...

  6. I participate in NaNo for those stories that I don't want to fully plot out and/or research. I find myself really opening up and letting more ideas flow. It's great. :D

  7. Yeah, NaNoWriMo and having 2 kids under the age of five doesn't work out well, unless you don't mind DCFS banging on your door three days into it.

    And would I be that sister, hmmm?