To NaNo or not to NaNo

As most of you writers out there know, November is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). The rules according to the NaNoWriMo website are as follows:

  1. Write a 50,000-word (or longer!) novel, between November 1 and November 30.
  2. Start from scratch. None of your own previously written prose can be included in your NaNoWriMo draft (though outlines, character sketches, and research are all fine, as are citations from other people’s works).
  3. Write a novel. We define a novel as a lengthy work of fiction. If you consider the book you’re writing a novel, we consider it a novel too!
  4. Be the sole author of your novel. Apart from those citations mentioned two bullet-points up.
  5. Write more than one word repeated 50,000 times.
  6. Upload your novel for word-count validation to our site between November 25 and November 30.
To learn more, visit the official site:
For the past month, authors have worked on outlines, eager to hit the ground running on November 1st. Guess what I’ve been doing? Avoiding NaNo-land. Why? Because I have so many unfinished projects, I can’t start another. Sure, I could pick a work-in-progress, set a daily word count goal, and track my progress on the NaNo site. But, that would be cheating and it wouldn’t feel the same. I guess I’ll have to start my own novel-writing contest. I could call it FYWIPBYLYM (Finish Your Works In Progress Before You Lose Your Mind), but I just don’t see that catching on, do you? Maybe I’ll set a goal to complete my works-in-progress before the next NaNoWriMo rolls around. It’s definitely a worthy goal, but a solitary one. I won’t be able to enjoy the camaraderie of working toward a common goal with thousands of other writers. I won’t get a cool NaNoWriMo winner badge. But, if I set my own goals and stick to them, I’ll be able to experience a sense of accomplishment. I can be my own cheerleader. Make my own badge. I can still be a winner!

4 thoughts on “To NaNo or not to NaNo

  1. Thanks for being the first author I know step up and call this competition what it is. I couldn't agree with you more. Unless you happen to be an author with nothing in the hopper, this competition is a colossal distraction. So, are you handing out pickets or did I need to bring my own sign. 😉

    Incidentally, I like your idea of creating a competition and would love to help you with it if you're serious.


  2. Thanks for your encouragement, Misty. I need to set a goal and track it somewhere.

    Ryan, I love NaNo, but it's just not practical right now. I couldn't do it last year either. I did Camp NaNo in June and still haven't finished that project. Maybe we could start a Facebook group or something. I think there are lots of people who need the November writing blitz and the accountability that comes with something like NaNo, but are unable to commit to a new project. I'll email you.


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