Why I don’t do Nanowrimo (but support those who do!)

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Every year on the 1st of November, writers all over the world plunge into the vortex of frenzy that is Nanowrimo, short for National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to churn out a book of length 50,000 words or more in the thirty days of November. For the mathematically inclined, that works out to 1667 words per day. Note that this daily number alone exceeds my monthly total.

I’ve attempted it twice and failed miserably. Both times, I managed a respectable output the first ten days, keeping up the stream of words flowing so that I met the target. On the days I fell short, I managed to compensate on subsequent sessions and maintain the average.

On both occasions, I ended up with around ten thousand words that I could salvage out of the unfiltered mess. Both helped me build my books to a hefty total, but in the end I left a lot of words on the cutting floor.

I’ve completed two novels and am working on a third. Judging by my past experience, I don’t believe I have a problem in finishing my books. Even I take a long break in between chapters, I always return to it and pick up the pace.

Maintaining thirty successive days of writing a high volume seems next to impossible for me. When I tried Nano in 2011, I lasted only a few days before a torrent of work hit me.

However, I see a solid reason for doing it. People who need an incentive, a final push to get the book out on paper, and who have more discipline than I do, could really benefit from Nanowrimo. Be warned, though. You definitely need to clear out your schedule, put up 3 X 5 index cards all over your bulletin board, and ignore your family for most of the month.

If you haven’t already, check out Nanowrimo.org to register for the event.

Here are a few awesome links to get you started on characters, outlines, plotlines etc.

Could you draft a novel in a month? Here’s how to nail NaNoWriMo

Alexandra Sokoloff’s Series on Nanowrimo

25 Things You Should Know About NaNoWriMo

Camp Nanowrimo

Are you planning to do Nanowrimo this year? I’m thinking about it as always, but it all hinges on the first few crucial hours of 1st November!


  1. Good summary and I’m right there with you. I respect the heck out of people who do it, but at this point in my life 30 days straight would only happen if I ignored my husband and kids, let the house go to bits, and stopped exercising. Can’t do it!


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