Are You NaNo-Ing?

It’s National Novel-Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)! Writers, are you NaNo-ing? Non-writers, what do you think about this annual tradition?

I am not participating this year, nor have I ever done so. I’m not going so far as to say I’ll never NaNo because I’ve often found myself revoking the “nevers” in my life. But right now it’s not for me.

Here’s why:

  • The prescriptive 1,667 words per day. As an Upholder and productivity-lover, I would see that bar and try to raise it, and likely burn myself out in the process.
  • The goal of 50,000 words per month, equaling a novel. I write historical fiction, so 50K is less than half the length of a novel I’d write. There would be no sense of completeness for me at the end of that month unless I chose to write in a different genre or seriously pared down my storyline.
  • The rule against editing during the month. The point of NaNo is writing fast and getting the draft done. But sometimes you have to stop and assess where you’re going. Sometimes new ideas take over, and you abandon your outline for something stronger and better. Why would you waste your time in the name of “just keep writing” when you’ll have to do a major re-write later?
  • The motivating factor. A lot of people need this push; a lot of people need to know that other writers out there are cranking out words every day, going for the 50K goal. I don’t feel that I need this. I have enough intrinsic motivation to finish a novel in my own time, and for that blessing, I am thankful.

    nanowrimo postcard
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    Awesome NaNoWriMo postcard

But there is one thing that I love about NaNoWriMo, and it’s a big one. It brings attention to the process of writing: how hard it is, how much stamina it takes. It’s an annual challenge for writers along the lines of a marathon, and it allows non-writers to stand on the sidelines and watch. Many professions and/or hobbies don’t have events like this; I’d love to see a “National Lesson Plan Month” for teachers or a “Mozart Every Day Month” for musicians, but I don’t see either happening anytime soon. We all need a push in our work sometimes, and NaNo-ing does that for writers.

If you are NaNo-ing, tell us about it and keep us updated on your journey! Even though I’m not participating myself, I would love to see Words From The Sowul readers showing our support!

2 Responses to “Are You NaNo-Ing?”

  1. Kathy says:

    I write nonfiction so I’m not nano-ing, though I don’t know why I couldn’t adapt the idea to nonfiction. I’m an Obliger, and you’d think this would be ideal for me, but I must have a smidgen of Rebel in me that keeps me from committing to such an undertaking. I might start off, but I honestly don’t think I have the writing stamina to write that much in a month.

  2. Leanne Sowul says:

    I’m not sure that it’s a “habits tendency” thing, so much as a “knowing yourself” thing. You, like me, could surely do this project if we felt it made sense for us. But we’re experienced enough as writers and with our own personalities to know it isn’t a good fit, at least not right now.

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