To NaNoWriMo or not?

Writing is such an individual thing. We all write in different ways, find inspiration in different places, follow a different writer’s journey.

IMAG5364For the past few years, I’ve spent my November immersed in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), but this year I decided it wasn’t for me.

There’s a lot going on at home with kids finishing their last year of high school etc, and to be honest, I decided I didn’t want the extra pressure of being stressed about daily word count deadlines.

But most of all, the reason I decided not to do NaNoWriMo is because I don’t want to be checking in daily word counts or reporting on my progress, I don’t want to be distracted by how many words I’m writing (or not writing), I just want to write.

NaNo is great for people who struggle to find time to write. It’s great for people who need incentive, who need to find ways to fit writing into their busy schedules, who want to be spurred on.

100_1423But the truth is, that writing is as much as part of my life as having breakfast or cleaning my teeth – it’s something I’m compelled to do every day. It’s something I want to do.

My first year of NaNo was a blast. I joined an international Facebook group, and no matter what time of the day or night I was writing, there was always somebody to chat to, to encourage, to be encouraged by.

But for me, the pressure of producing 50,000 words in a month took something away from the joy of writing and to be honest, produced mediocre results.

I recently attended a fabulous writing workshop with Arnold Zable, and something he said, really resonated with me, “Don’t be in a hurry.” Pressure works well for some writers, but I write best at my own pace, when I can take my time to inhabit my characters, and to immerse myself in their worlds.

It’s still only early November and already I’ve changed my mind a few times about my November project – and that’s okay – I’m still writing. The advantage of working outside NaNo is that I don’t have to report it to anyone. I can just go on my merry way and write.

A manuscript assessor must be someone who 'gets' your book.

A manuscript assessor must be someone who ‘gets’ your book.

So far I’ve produced the first draft of a Chapter book of more than 5,500 words. I was going to work on a new adult novel, but After Troy, my sequel to Letters to Leonardo is drawing me back.

I am a big fan of NaNoWriMo. I know it produces wonderful results for some people and the camaraderie amongst writers at this time is amazing. But this year, I’m going with my heart, going it alone and loving it.

If you’re doing NaNoWriMo I hope it’s working for you. If you’re not, then I hope you’re inspired by your writing and enjoying the journey.

We’d love to hear your NaNo experiences. In the comments section below, feel free to post your views on NaNo and how it’s working or not working for you, or whether you’re like me and have decided not to join the thousands of writers worldwide who are chasing that big word count this month.

Happy writing:)



3 thoughts on “To NaNoWriMo or not?

  1. I can totally see where you’re coming from with NaNoWriMo. This is my third year doing NaNoWriMo and I already write pretty regularly but NaNo gives me more discipline. I absolutely love it but the only drawback I’m finding is that I don’t like to rush through my writing either. I like to take my time with it, absorb it and thoroughly research.

  2. That’s exactly how I feel. NaNo is great for discipline, but I find it’s good to take the time I need for the first draft. I think it makes revising a lot less work.

    Happy writing:)


  3. I have often ‘wanted to’ but haven’t been able to commit, and it’s for all the reasons you’ve talked about above. I’m definitely at a stage in my career where I just want to ‘write’ with no boundaries, and not HAVE to do anything other than channel stories. I love that you’ve made this decision! x

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