12 Thoughts On NaNoWriMo

by Joe Bunting | 49 comments

This post was originally published in October 2012.

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? Are you thinking about  it? Do you know what NaNoWriMo even is?

2014 NaNoWriMo Calendar

Here are 12 reasons you should or should not participate in National Novel Writing Month:

1. The Benefits of Goals

The best part of NaNoWriMo is that it sets a specific, measurable, and achievable goal: write 50,000 words in a month. As goals go, that's a pretty good goal, and one you can conceivably accomplish. It's only 1,666 words a day, or about 2,000 words if you take a day off each week.

Goals are proven to increase motivation. Participating in NaNoWriMo will help you focus, help you prioritize writing, and help you say no to distractions. (That's right. Television will probably not help you write your novel.)

2. Build Community

Great writers have writing communities. Hemingway had Paris in the 20s. The Beats had New York. Lewis and Tolkien had the Inklings. Hugo had the salons of Paris. When you share a goal with a group of people, like the goal of writing a NaNoWriMo novel, you create community. If you're looking to join or deepen your  writing community, NaNoWriMo might be a great option for you.

3. Focus Doesn't Make You More Creative

Yes, NaNoWriMo will help you focus on writing, but focus doesn't make you more creative. In fact, focus can actively hinder your creativity. You are most creative when you're relaxed, unfocused, and able to make serendipitous connections between seemingly unrelated things. The reason agents and publishers cringe when they get NaNoWriMo novel submissions is because they are generally formulaic, full of cliché, and derivative (all that's to say, they're bad). That doesn't mean you shouldn't write your NaNoWriMo novel. Just realize you're just writing the first of many drafts.

4. The Creativity Is In The Planning

To write 50,000 words that aren't completely bad, plan ahead. If you have time to prepare for NaNoWriMo, spend it trying to understand your characters. Develop your major plot elements. Identify your setting. They say it's against the rules to start writing before November, but this isn't writing. This is laying the foundations your writing will rest upon.

5. Sharpen Your Writing Tools

Writing quickly is a skill, and it's an important skill for every writer. That's what NaNoWriMo will teach you: how to write quickly. You can write 50,000 words in a month. You can probably even write 100,000 words. To do it, though, you might need to learn some tricks. You might need to develop a different mindset. What we're talking about is developing skill, and this is a skill that will serve you well no matter whether this particular novel is published or not.

6. It Doesn't End In November (or December… or January)

To be successful as a writer, you need to develop other skills: editing and rewriting skills, notably. When November is over and you've “won,” you will have to take on new goals. Your goal won't be how many words you can write, but how many times you can read through your manuscript. How many clichés you can cut. How many times you can rewrite one sentence. All good writing is rewriting, and after November you have eleven months to learn those skills.

7. Don't Make the Lives Of Agents Hell

It's silly for you to submit your NaNoWriMo novel to an agent or publisher on December 1. Please don't do it. This is a shortcut and your novel is worth more than that.

8. Quantity Begets Quality

Here's what's so great about NaNoWriMo: if you write more, you will write better. A pottery teacher divided his class in half. To one half, he told them they would be graded by the quality of their work. All they had to do to get an A is produce one perfect pot. To the other half, he told them they would be graded by the quantity of their work. If they produced fifty pounds of finished pots, no matter how good they were, they would get an A.

Who produced the best work?

The group graded by quantity. Apparently, as they produced pot after bad pot, they learned what it took to make a good one. But the group graded on quality was so frozen by the standard they inevitably failed to achieve it. Our number one goal is to write pieces of the highest quality, but the path to quality is quantity.

9. You Are Writing The Rest of the Year, Right?

Jeff Goins might disagree with me, but you aren't a writer if you only write in November. If you want to be successful, if you want to be a pro, if this is more than just a whim of a hobby (and, by the way, it's fine if that's all it is), you will write December through October as well.

10. Read Something, Too

To get the most out of your NaNoWriMo experience, don't forget Stephen King's maxim, “If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write.” Read at least one book a week in November. I also recommend studying a book similar to the one you're writing in depth. If you study just one novel deeply enough, you will learn more about writing than from reading a hundred novels.

11. Stop Consuming, Start Creating

The detractors of NaNoWriMo say there are already enough good novels that aren't being read. Do we really need more? The answer is, probably not. The world doesn't really need your novel. They probably aren't going to rush out and buy it the moment you self-publish it on Amazon. I'm sorry, but the world doesn't owe you anything, least of all the hours of attention it will take to read your book. But maybe we shouldn't be as interested in that anyway.

The amazing thing about writing is that you get the chance, finally, to stop being a consumer and start creating. You may have spent you're whole life consuming consuming consuming. Maybe it's time to do the opposite. Maybe it's time to create, just for the joy of it. Can that be enough for you?

12. Why Are You Really Doing This?

You don't have to be a writer to experience transcendence. Just go outside and breathe that crisp November air. Drink your coffee ever slower. Breathe so deep you feel it in the bones of your toes. Go for a walk and look at the trees, all orange and red and yellow and try to see them as if for the first time. Write thank you thank you thank you 25,000 times until you have a novel's worth of gratefulness.

If you want to be more alive, those are all better options than going into a dark closet to stoop over a keyboard for a hundred hours.

Writing can be toil just the same as your day job. Are you looking for more toil? Or are you looking for more life? If it's the latter, you can find life by going for a walk as easily as writing a novel. Before you begin, know what you want.

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? Why or why not?


Spend some time seriously thinking why you want to participate in NaNoWriMo. Write down every reason that comes to mind. Then, choose your top three and share them here in the comments section. Are they good enough to motivate your writing through the month of November?

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Joe Bunting is an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. He is also the author of the new book Crowdsourcing Paris, a real life adventure story set in France. It was a #1 New Release on Amazon. Follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).

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  1. Katie Axelson

    Great thoughts, Joe! Last November I won NaNoWriMo, and I haven’t touched it since December 1. I thought I’d let it sit for awhile and get back to it. Now, I’m scared to even open the document because I know what’s in there and it really isn’t worth exploring. This year, I’m technically opting out. I’m sure I write over 50,000 words twelve months a year. Since my roommate’s doing NaNo, I’m sure there will be more intense writing things happening in my house but it won’t be a novel from me. Maybe a short story or seven. Maybe I’ll read a book or seven. Maybe I’ll write an eBook or seven. That I don’t know yet. There are so many writing projects on my horizon. I refuse to limit them to November and I refuse to waste a month writing crap. I’m not anti-NaNo, in fact, I’m proud to have won once. I’m anti-binging, anti-novel-puking, and anti-fad.

  2. Sandra

    Great post. Thanks for the reminder that I need to finish my foundation work before the challenge begins.

    My 3 reasons:
    1. The need to release what’s begging to be created, even if only a few friends read it.
    2. It’s doable – it will be challenging, but finishing one novel will be an accomplishment.
    3. I owe it to myself – I’ve wanted to do this for years, signed up last year and didn’t even start so this is the year.

    Good luck to all!

  3. womenofletters

    I’m doing NaNoWriMo this year for the first time. I decided to board along because the challenge seems fun and I really find myself with a lot of spare time. Besides that, I find it very enjoyable to sink in my story and forget about my surroundings (a desk, a chair, and some cat) 

    • M J Wille

      I completely know what you mean! That’s one of the major reasons why I started writing…the ability to live vicariously through someone else and escape from this world into an entirely different one. It’s so exciting!!

  4. Chihuahua Zero

    1) To get out of my inconsistent writing stunt and re-establish my writing ethic.
    2) To actually write a draft that I’ll work on beyond November, instead of what happened last time (I lost both a third of a story via flashdrive accident, and my interest).3) To manifest a story idea that has survived since January 2011 and still wants to see the light of day.

  5. Neal

    Joe, I love nano and I love WP, and I think you do a wonderful job. But I do disagree with you on one point. From my experience, and that’s all I’m going by, I feel the most creative when I am the most focused. It is when I try to relax and let it flow that it gets chubbed up. Again, that is just my experience. I am not saying it must be that way for everybody, much less anyone lese. But I defintely agree with you that nano projects don’t end December 1st. Nano has a lot of good, but being a format to create a full and polished manuscript is not one of them. It’s a springboard, a nutty springboard that drives you crazy, but I dig it anyway. Great article, and I’ll be reading more from you soon, my friend.

    • Joe Bunting

      Hmm… that’s interesting, Neal. What about when you’re stressed? How does it go then?

  6. Kate Hewson

    1) Because I’ve got a back story for my WIP that is begging to be written. Might as well write it in November and shut it up for a bit.
    2) Because I have never done it before, and it sounds like fun (and probably hell at the same time….)
    3) Because I wrote on my blog that I was doing it, and I told my friends, and now it’s too late to back out without seeming like a wuss…

    Incidentally – read a book a WEEK in NOVEMBER whilst doing nanowrimo??? Well, what with committing to 2000 words a day, working 30 hours a week, caring for my kids and running my home…I can only read a book a week if i give up any sleep at all.I’m reading NOW in preparation, so hopefully that will surfice…

    • Margaret Terry

      I’m with you, Kate! Hope it’s fun…and productive!

  7. Andrew Ronzino

    Joe!  I love this post!  This will be my third year participating in NaNoWriMo, and so far, I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.  I agree with everything you’ve written here, especially about freaking agents out and planning the stories out. 

    My first year, I didn’t do much planning, only enough to get by.  The story was nice, but I’m not going to show it to an agent.  The second year (last year), I started to plan out my NaNo novel in July.  That gave me plenty of time to come up with compelling characters, a good plot, and a decent timeline of events.  This way, when November 1st struck, I just had to write the thing.  Now, I wasn’t strict on the timeline, or even the characters.  I let the story shape them.  Some stuff ended up happening that I didn’t expect, and it was good to let the story flow and form itself.  That novel, though still in it’s vomit draft stage (I haven’t touched it since last year), I feel could be publishable one day, once I get time to work on it and polish it.

    This year, I have done the same thing, planned ahead, and hopefully, I’ll get good results. 

    You asked why I am I participating in NaNoWriMo?  My answer is quite simple–to give myself experience.  I don’t want to be a one trick pony in my writing; only one or two genres, only one or two POV styles, only one voice.   I want to have a wide variety of writing experiences.  In other words, I want to grow as a writer, challenge myself, and learn where my strengths and weaknesses are.  I want to know what I can and can’t write, what am I best at, what do I suck at.  This way, when I do start to get my novels published (both my non-NaNo novels, as well as some NaNo novels I think are good), I will know where I want to branch out.  Or even have the opportunity to say, “Yeah, I’ve tried that POV, or that genre, and I’m not too fond of it”.

    Basically, I use NaNoWriMo to challenge myself and try new things.  My first year, I tried a fantasy romance set in ancient Egypt and co-authored writing.  The second year, I tried third person limited POV (I usually write third person multiple), as well as using different kind of charterers that I normally would, and used a female as my protagonist, all of which I have never done before.  This year, I’m trying a new genre (steampunk).  I plan on using NaNoWriMo as a way to test my abilities as a writer.  What will work, and what wont?

    • Kate Hewson

      I really love everything you have said there Andrew – all the stuff about trying different things out and challenging yourself! You’ve inspired me to do the same!

    • Andrew Ronzino

       Thank you!  I’m glad I could inspire.  😀

    • Margaret Terry

      wow, this is so thoughtful, Andrew! Good for you for accepting the challenges you set for yourself as a writer – I bet you can see the improvement each year and where your voice is strongest. Now I have to look up steampunk 🙂

  8. Eelopez

    I want to use NaNo as a way to focus my writing. When I get ideas I don’t follow through with them or I come to a road block and don’t push through. Since I know that my first novel is going to suck anyways I’ve decided that NaNo is a great way to just get it out of my head and to shut down my inner critic. So what if it’s bad, I have 1665 more words to write today.

  9. Tadeems

    1. To finally, after all these years, get this story out of my head.
    2. To see that I can do this.
    3. To perhaps learn to write a first draft without constantly self-censoring myself.

    • M J Wille

      That’s one of my hardest things to overcome. Before Camp NaNoWriMo, I used to start writing a novel and within a couple chapters, I would go back and edit. Camp in June gave me the willpower to continue with something (even if I think it sucks) and not censor everything. That’s what rewrites are for, right? 

      Great reasons to do this 🙂

  10. Natasha

    I’ve never participated, but thought about it many times. I really like points 6, 8, and 10.  I hadn’t really considered it as an ongoing project throughout the year, and there’s a lot more value in that than just a one-month of crazed writing frenzy.  #8 is a great reminder that applies to so many aspects of life, not just writing or pottery.  Thanks so much!

  11. Daniela Dragas

    This is the most honest and the most informative review of NaNoWriMo I have thus far read.

    Thank you Joe,

  12. Jeff Ellis

    I think I’m writing a novel in November just to prove to myself that I can actually do it. Maybe to convince myself that I am a writer, or that I can be the storyteller I’ve wanted to be since reading Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss, a couple years ago. 

    I spend too much time second-guessing myself and maybe this exercise will be a means of teaching myself to let go. That it’s all going to be okay and not to push myself too hard. Strange time to stop pushing, but I agree with what you said about relaxation. 

    We write to share ourselves with the world. Do I want to give the world another balled up stress-wad who wants to call it quits if everything isn’t perfect? Or do I want to present myself as someone who genuinely loves the craft? Someone who makes people smile, and laugh, and cry, and does it all with that sense of camaraderie that only the truly passionate can? I think we all can be that person, and I plan to prove this to myself next month.

    “I ain’t the coolest, but I know I got passion. I got passion.” – Childish Gambino, All the Shine

    • Kate Hewson

      Here, here, Jeff!

    • Joe Bunting

      Mmmm… I like that Jeff. You’re doing it to be a better person. That’s a pretty good reason.

  13. Dawnstarpony

    I’m goign to participate in NaNo (I probably won’t win–if I do, then the my future will suffer) and I want to because I like the community of writers there! I did NaNo last year and I made tons of new writerly friends and I want to get back in touch with them as well as make new friends! I do agree with the “write more–> write better” rule, so that’s another reason.

  14. M J Wille

    Great thoughts! I have always been daunted by “copying” what someone else has written. I guess it was drilled into my head that I had to be 100% original to be a great writer. But you’re right! We can learn so much from those who have gone before us. 

    I’ve never done the official NaNoWriMo before (not the November one, at least) but I participated this year in Camp NaN0WriMo in June. I completed it, producing a little over 50,000 words. And they sucked. Which, most first drafts do. No big deal. But I got a little too “in over my head” with editing and changed major points in the story. I ended up putting it aside because two chapters in, I hated what it had become. I have since then gone back to the original version of the story, changing some character relationships and such but no major events. It’s a slow process but the rewrite is better. I’m more pleased with this novel. 

    I’ve signed up for NaNo this November and am anxiously awaiting the first of November. I did absolutely no planning during Camp NaNo (in fact, I started about 1 week late). I thought planning fell under the same category as starting to write early but I’m glad to hear that it doesn’t. I think November will be a lot better if I plan out some of my characters, their relationships with others, and major plot events. 

    Thanks so much for sharing this. It was extremely helpful to me 🙂

    visiting between novels 🙂

  15. Gracescribe

    Reasons to join NaNoWriMo

    Eagerness to see what my
    characters are up to.

    Creating word pictures that

    Having my next book out there,
    without surgical intervention.


  16. Sayyada Dharsee

    1) Because I’m in a terrible state of self-doubt right now, and I want to get away from that. From previous experience, NaNo/Camp NaNo force me to spend every moment that I can spare (and ones I can’t) thinking about my novel, which also leads to, at the end, myself feeling better, whatever the outcome. I want to forget everybody else for a while and write something true, and not worry what they are thinking.

    2) I vowed, after last NaNo, to have a first draft written by this Christmas. I’ve tried so hard to keep to this goal; I’ve been working on various incarnations of that draft since last November, but after a good long simmer and (finally!) a steady plotline, I know that this novel will not even reach half-draft (if that’s a phase) stage this year without NaNo intervention.

    3) There isn’t any other time when I can write with such a vibrant, almost explosive community of other writers and readers. There’s a completely different joy in writing, knowing that you can listen to ‘I am the Very Model of a WriMo Individual’, read NaNoToons, watch the new NaNoMusical, have the Spork Support Team, ask questions on flogging and get replies, and spend days debating whether Glorfindel of Gondolin and Glorfindel of Rivendell were the same elf. It’s a whole group of like-minded people, and it’s absolutely amazing.

  17. Puffy

    Actually, this would be my first year participating in the NaNoWriMo Youth Writing Program. (All thanks to the Magic Violinist and her blog ads.) I thought about it, and I now know the real reason I really, REAAAALLY want to do it: I’m challenging myself to stick to a story.

    You see, I’m the kind of fickle writer who claims that she has the perfect story and gets to outlining it, creating the characters, thinking of creative plot twists, etc. Once I’ve planned each and every chapter, I set to work writing it down. The story seemingly possesses me; it becomes all I think of and all that I draw and write about.

    Then, after writing about five or six chapters, I’m inspired by a book or a movie or a song, think I’ve got another perfect story, and the cycle starts all over again.

    Believe me, trying to start and actually finish a story is difficult. I just started my first draft for the first CHAPTER when an idea for a fanfiction popped into my mind. It took almost all of my willpower to not abandon my novel to start the fanfiction.

    I guess taking the NaNoWriMo challenge is my way of saying “I challenge myself to finish this story by the end of November.”

    I just hope that I can finish this story so I can get started on the fanfiction. 🙂 Wish me luck

    • Margaret Terry

      Puffy – I know how you feel about stories that surprise you while you are in the middle of writing one! I’ve been like that all my life and I could be your grandmother! But, after completing and selling 2 books, I have to say, there is more satisfaction in the finishing than there is in something that excites me with new breath. Many well known authors give the same advice about the importance of finishing…I hope nanowrimo helps you do that! Good Luck!

  18. Megan

    Thank you so much for this post! I don’t know if I’ll participate in NaNoWriMo this year or not – it’s kind of only a few days from November, after all – but so many of these points resonated with me regardless. I especially liked your point that focus doesn’t necessarily make you more creative. Yes, sometimes we all probably need to focus a little more (or, at least, God knows I do!), but the reminder that focus alone isn’t some kind of panacea really helps! 

    • Joe Bunting

      You’re quite welcome, Megan. I’m glad those points resonated with you. If you end up deciding to participate, I wish you the best of luck!

  19. Karen Jones

    I am not, because I did not know about this.

  20. Margaret Terry

    I can’t believe I am reading your post, Joe when I should be WRITING 🙂 I am a first timer to this crazed month of words filled with wild hope and abandon. Oh, wait a minute, that’s 2 of my three reasons right there…

    Top 3 reasons I signed up:
    1. this novel has been in my head for five years and I hope if I commit to liberating it over the next 30 days, I will have a first draft.
    2. I am a writer who edits as I go along – the only time I write w/o edits is while I journal – I want to see IF I can do it, and WHAT the quality will look like
    3. I am a non fiction writer – all my published articles, my 2 books are life stories. I want to stretch in the land of imagination with characters who surprise me in a world that is not my own!

    Good Luck everyone – I am storycatcher60 if you want to buddy up!

  21. Toesock

    1.) It’s my style to go balls to the wall with projects that I never finish. I’m thinking the challenge will help me finish this time.
    2.) After two years and two babies it’s time to get back to what I love doing. Might as well be a first draft of a novel.
    3.) Writing this novel will be better than therapy as I’m featuring a NPD mother who controls her daughter in the most out there of ways.

  22. Kaye

    This is my third time doing NaNo. I’ve been thinking lots about the reasons for doing it.
    1. First there is the discipline and building the writing habit that is priceless for me as well as the sense of accomplishment that I cranked out something rather momentous.
    2. Then there is the learning that happens – learning about writing by practicing, but also learning about me and the ebb and flow of my writing patterns.
    3. But today I noticed another great reason: I like myself better when I’m doing NaNo. I feel like a writer – because I’m writing. Duh. And I like myself as a writer. I like the fact that I’m setting aside the time to make this happen. When I notice how much I like all of that, I am inspired to set aside more and bigger chunks of time the rest of the year.

    • Joy

      That is wonderful how you connect so well with NaNoWriMo and how it is so rewarding to you. Best wishes!

  23. Christy

    I did sign up for NaNo this year about two weeks before it started. I didn’t have a lot of time to plan or build up characters but I wanted to take the challenge and see if I could actually finish the goal. It hasn’t been until recently that I have started taking my writing seriously. I suffer from horrible doubt and I am finding it hard to move my way past it and just write. I am a perfectionist and I also know that hinders me as well. NaNo provides me the opportunity to not really stop and stew over the story but forces me to create, listen to my characters and put the perfectionism aside; something that is still a work in progress. I’m on day 3 of NaNo and although I haven’t yet written for today I am already 5,204 words in the story. Good luck to everyone who has signed up for this adventure. There are many times I think I am crazy for signing up but there are times where I am thankful for such an opportunity, because it allows me to grow and learn as a writer. Thank you so much Joe for posting this article!

  24. Kathy Kramer

    I’m not doing NaNo this year because I have too much going on and because I have my NaNoWriMo story from 2 years ago that I’m still polishing and editing and part of me feels like I need to finish that before I try NaNoWriMo again.

    The main reason why I started doing this is that it allowed me to give myself permission to write crap. And the way I was able to do this was to keep telling myself that when I hit 50K, I’m done with NaNoWriMo, not the entire novel. No one will see this until *I* am ready to present it to the rest of the world. And if it’s bad, that’s what revision is for. I had perpetual writer’s block because I was such a perfectionist that I set myself up to fail when I would stare at the blank document and expect everything to be perfect as it came from my head and through my fingers on the keyboard and onto the screen. When I let go of that, I was able to write.

    I’ve also looked at NaNoWriMo as a starting point. That’s what it should be: a starting point, because you still have to edit and you still have to rewrite and you still have to polish your story.

  25. Para Friv

    Thank you so much for this post! I don’t know if I’ll participate in
    NaNoWriMo this year or not – it’s kind of only a few days from November,
    after all – but so many of these points resonated with me regardless. I
    especially liked your point that focus doesn’t necessarily make you
    more creative.

  26. Friv Jogos

    Very impressive article. I have read each and every point and found it very interesting

  27. Jenny Bravo

    This is a fantastic post, Joe. I’ve always been somewhat skeptical in joining the NaNoWriMo community, but you’ve made some excellent posts. Goals are extremely important. I really admire everyone who has committed to the project, and I like that it encourages free writing. I tend to censor myself while writing, and probably miss out on some great ideas that I’ve filtered out myself. However, if I have a set number of words I have for the day, I can just let my mind wander to get to that point. Good luck to all NaNos! Really looking forward to the end results.


  28. Angie

    You made some great points about NaNoWriMo. This is my second year doing it, and boy have I learned a lot from last year!

    And that’s one of the reasons why I’m also doing it again this year: because it teaches you so much about yourself, how to discipline yourself and not self-doubt, and be a better writer.

    My other two reasons are: the pure joy of writing; typing out whatever comes to mind, whether it’s gold or not, and having those moments where you truly write something you’re proud of. The other final reason is the supportive and like-minded community that NaNoWriMo is made up of; these fellow community members will support you along the way and it’s not like there’s a nasty competitiveness there. We’re all supporting each other and we’re all on the same page (haha pun intended).

    Thanks for sharing your views!

  29. Jessica Ruprecht

    This is a great post! As someone who’s opting out of NaNoWriMo this year (after participating, but not winning, the last two years), I like that you phrased it as a question. Are you or aren’t you? So many times in discussion of NaNo all I see is, “Are you in?!”. As though it’s a given that NaNo is right for everyone.

    I have some reasons for NOT participating and they’re closely tied to the reasons you give above:

    1. Goals may be proven to increase motivation, but failing to achieve goals because we overstretched can have a negative impact on future motivation. I know that winning NaNo for me is a long shot this year and I know that if I don’t win I’ll end November feeling discouraged. This discouragement will bleed into my writing practice and I won’t feel like picking up the pen in December. And possibly not in January either.

    2. Related to the above (and your point 9) it’s important to write the rest of the year! I’ll happily trade consistent writing in November, December, and January for a roughshod and slightly crummy partial draft of a novel written hastily in November.

    3. I’d have to give up my reading time. The absolute only way that achieving NaNo might be possible for me is if I reclaimed my commute time on the bus each day for writing. There are two problems with this. My commute is my reading time and I’m loathe to give it up. And, secondly, I find it impossible to write words that are true and honest and *important* when I feel like the stranger in the seat next to me is peering over my shoulder the whole time.

    So I won’t be participating in Nanowrimo this year. But best of luck to all those who are! Win or lose, you’re in for an unforgettable month.

  30. Katie Hamer

    All good points.

    With reference to number twelve, I used to think that it was enough to simply experience life, until I discovered the magic of sharing my world view. I can share that magic through writing (hopefully). Writing, at it’s most expressive, is alchemy; taking the ordinary and transforming it into the extraordinary.

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful advice.

  31. Joy

    This is my first year to participate in NaNoWriMo. To me it’s..

    1) A goal that will keep me from being lazy
    2) A great opportunity to let my imagination run wild without editing
    3) A fun way to add another 50,000 words to my ongoing and ever changing WIP

    Last month I needed a break from writing. As Hemingway said, “In order to write about life first you must live it.” Last month I needed to live it, not just write about it . I went on a camping trip, breathed the crisp October air, collected colorful leaves, hiked through the woods, and then just lived life for a month without worrying myself over the novel. It was liberating. And surprisingly I didn’t feel guilt over it. I wasn’t rejecting the novel; I was only taking a break. And now I’m back with renewed energy, participating in NaNoWriMo, and loving it.

    It is exciting to hear of so many others that are joining the NaNoWriMo challenge. Best wishes to you all! This month is going to be awesome!

  32. Matt Maszczak

    Great post. This will be my eight year participating and I always view NaNoWriMo as a catalyst to boost my daily writing practice. It’s also a lot of fun.

    That being said, I would disagree that “The Creativity is in the Planning.” While I understand your argument. I would say that the creativity is in the second draft, or the editing. I can’t work with a story I haven’t yet seen the bones of. I enjoy cranking one out, without regard for plot or structure, then pull it apart and put it together in order. That, for me, is where the creativity comes in.

  33. Elizabeth Westra

    I’m not doing NaNoWriMo because I write for children, and most children’s books aren’t that long. Is there something like this for children’s writers?

    • Dana

      I know someone who did NaNo one year and instead of one long novel he wrote a bunch of interconnected short stories. I don’t think they were specifically for kids but there’s no reason someone else couldn’t do that.

  34. Adri

    Hi Joe!
    Thank you for your article, you’ve got solid points.

    1. Main reason that I want to join this year’s NaNoWriMo is that I really want to sort out some past experiences through the eyes of my novel characters. Hopefully it will help me make better decisions after I wrote that novel.

    2. Other equally important reason is that I would like to share my story with other people, shape it and give it a meaning.

    3. I really want to take my writing to the next level.

    My blog http://life-recycling.com ~

  35. Savannah Bietz

    Hi Joe! This is my second year participating in NaNoWriMo, and I’m super excited with the idea I’ve been brainstorming the last couple months. I’m still in high school, so this challenge is a little difficult when it comes to finding time, but I got to 15,000 words last year, and I want to at least make it to 30,000 this year and maybe 50,000 if I become an insomniac! I loved this post, thank you so much for this daily writing treasures!

  36. Cazamire

    This was my first year participating in it, and I am so glad I did.

    1. I went into this knowing that I would not be able to reach the 50k word goal that was set. But that was fine with me. This story has been with me for nearly seven years now, but I have never been able to get past twenty pages or so. However, this year, I was able to develop characters further and more than double all of the efforts I’ve put into this over the past several years in just one month.
    2. Watching the little goal markers go up every day gave me a weird sense of accomplishment and motivation to write that I hadn’t been able to find anywhere else. Even now in December, I’m using their goal trackers for my own personal use just because it has been such a good motivator.
    3. I would never plan on publishing a first draft, so this merely served as a great way to get ideas and thoughts out of my head and down onto paper in a coherent order.


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