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

I use Grammarly for English proofreading because if I don’t, the Grammar Nazis will catch me and throw me into the word-cage! Do try out Grammarly for proofreading your articles, essays and even stories.

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!



Payal put a gun to my head inspired me to sign up for Nanowrimo. With a bare outline and few pages of handwritten notes, I plunged in on the evening of November 1, dreading what was to come. 

To my utter surprise and astonishment, 1670 words later, I had overcome all the hurdles and spun out sensible prose that could not, if I flatter myself, be classified as patent crap. 

But there’s a secret of how I did it. I used a technique I had never tried before and plunged straight into it.

I wrote the entire thing in first person present tense. 

I’ve written first person in both my novels so far, but never tried the present tense simply because I don’t like it. But this time the writing flowed. 

All the stuff I had been carrying around in my head about the book just spewed on to the paper. My bare outline too served me well. But I was just amazed at how easily I got back into the groove of writing a novel. I had put it off all this time simply because of fear – of failure, of inadequacy and what have you. 

Now I’m glad I tried it even if I land up abandoning the attempt halfway through, simply because it convinced me that I shouldn’t wait for inspiration to strike and simply dive in. 

Maybe this was an outcome of my reading The Help which is written in present tense. But that’s my Nanowrimo tip – try writing in a different POV or a different tense and see if it fits the story. 

The other important thing is to resist all temptation to read what you have written so far. I haven’t yet peeked into my words written from the first, so come December 1st I will either suffer a rude shock or be pleasantly surprised by my output. 

What Nano tips and tricks are you trying out?