Why I’m Not Doing NaNoWriMo

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen some enthusiastic tweets I wrote over the past couple of weeks (or months?) about my excitement for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). After successfully participating last year, I was fully intending to participate again this year.

The first snag I hit was which novel I should write. I’m currently in the middle of an edit and partial rewrite of a different work, but NaNoWriMo rules say you’ve got to start something from scratch. Originally I planned for a science fiction story, but then I decided to work on an idea I’ve had for a while and tried to write before. Of course, I planned to write this idea from scratch and not use the bits I already worked on.

As you’ve probably guessed based on the title of this post, things didn’t go according to plan. I wrote 3,000 words on November 1—that’s a lot, but those words were also utter rubbish. If I saw those 3,000 words in a rough draft, I know I would have ended up scrapping every single one of them. The problem, I realized, was NaNoWriMo made me feel pressured to write quickly, which hindered my ability to produce decent work.

So I decided not to do it. I’m not doing NaNoWriMo this year. I can’t say that I’ll never do it again, because who knows, but I am definitely not doing it this year. Instead, I’m going to focus on the Writing Challenge, which I blogged about here. People log their writing challenge progress on Twitter using a hashtag (this month it’s #NovWritingChallenge) and the goal is to do 500 words every day. Just 500 words. Even with work, I usually can handle that. It was more low pressure and lots more fun. Plus, it builds a regular writing habit, which is something I like. Writing 500 words almost every day of the year is a lot more impressive than average 1,667 every day in November, but not writing at all during other months. (1,667 is the amount you must average to write 50,000 words in a month, the minimum needed to win NaNoWriMo.)

If you like NaNoWriMo, that’s fine. But right now, I’ve discovered it’s not for me and I am just going to keep plugging away at this rewrite. It’s going surprisingly well, I admit. So hooray for that.

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2 thoughts on “Why I’m Not Doing NaNoWriMo

  1. Good for you for figuring out what works best this year! The Writing Challenge sounds much more do-able. As a nonfiction writer and full-time teacher, I’ll be sure to explore it. Thanks for sharing! Somehow I missed it over on Twitter. 😕

    1. Robin, you definitely should check it out! It’s loads of fun and the people are really nice. Follow me on Twitter and we can encourage each other when we write. 🙂

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