Why No NaNoWriMo For Me?

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It’s October and all around me, people are gearing up for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). They’re psyching themselves up, gathering their tools, stocking up on caffeine, and putting plans in place for a month-long writing sprint aimed at churning out 50,000 words in a single month.

Those who participate in this annual event and earn their badges of honor by reaching the total whopping word count range from the pre-published to the well-published and everything in between. For some writers it’s an annual tradition and a time when they punch out an entire novel draft. For others, it’s a fun way to get words on paper.

If you fall into this camp, or think you might, I highly recommend checking out the NaNoWRiMo web site. They offer tons of resources, including prep support and word tracking tools. It’s a very engaged community.

To me, NaNoWriMo is both impressive and terrifying.

It is also something I plan on never doing.

Why? Why no NaNoWRiMo for me?

Because, for me, it would be a hyper-stressful, unhealthy set-up.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying NaNoWriMo is bad. On the contrary, it works for a lot of people, and I know plenty of writers who love it, people who write well beyond 50,000 words in a month.  It is a super-charged writing event that builds community and ushers writers to complete work they might not otherwise complete, at least not in such a short amount of time. And I can see how it can be a valuable exercise, especially for people who are plotters and planners and anyone who preps before-hand and is ready to go right out of the gate.

But it’s not for me.

Why not? Why no NaNoWRiMo for me?

Because when I write, I want to be allowed to explore and meander a bit along the way. I want to hang out with my characters, sit with them, share a laugh, take some time to get to know them, and maybe be surprised.

I don’t want to run a race with them. Even if they could carry the baton for me. We just don’t have that kind of relationship.

Also, I have always been a short distance sprinter. (Seriously short. Like between the bases in baseball.) It’s how I roll. Novel-in-90 (750 words a day for 90 days), which I have done more than once, is more my speed. (Honestly. I have daughter who is a runner. She definitely did not get that from me!)

Plus, I want to enjoy my writing. I don’t want it to become a chore, something that I have to push and drag myself to do. For me, the daily commitment at the NaNoWRiMo level, even for thirty days, would be the opposite of fun.

Not to mention that I only get a few holidays a year to spend online gaming, and Thanksgiving is one of them. (Don’t give me that side-eye.)

And, like a lot of things, when it comes to writing, it’s important to find what works for you. Maybe that’s NaNoWRiMo, maybe it’s Novel-in-90, maybe it’s writing every day, or catch-as-catch-can. Maybe it changes over time. If it works, own it.

You do you.

So, while a few hundred thousand writers spend the month of November tapping out around 1,666 words every day, I’ll be over here, writing a bit, editing a bit, questing a bit, and cheering you all on from the sidelines. You can do this (if you want)!

So, whatever process works best for you to get your words onto the page, do that.

Like I always say, process is personal.

Happy writing!


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