NaNo no no no no no no!

A writer's setup for NaNoWriMo (photo courtesy Wiki Commons  by mpclemens from Pleasant Hill, United States.

A writer’s setup for NaNoWriMo (photo courtesy Wiki Commons by mpclemens from Pleasant Hill, United States.

For my writer friends out there, I’m sure you’re all aware that NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow. For the unanointed NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, and the goal of the project is to write a 50,000 word novel in a single month. This means you need to average about 1,700 words per day (1,666.6 if you want to be exact).

Many people love it, saying it’s a great motivator. Many people hate it, saying it creates artificial, write-at-all-costs-even-if-it’s-crap mentality. Other critics contend that anyone who needs the motivation of NaNoWriMo to write isn’t a real writer, for real writers write whether it’s November or not.

I won’t jump in on either side of the argument, as I’m pretty free thinking on this stuff. If you like NaNoWriMo, do it. If you don’t like it, then don’t do it. I feel no reason to tell other people what they should or shouldn’t do, when it doesn’t directly affect me one way or the other. (Now, if you’d like to camp out in my living room to do NaNo, then I’m gonna have to tell you, NO!) However, on a personal level, I have no interest in NaNoWriMo.

It’s just not practical for me, in terms of logistics. If they’d picked March, or even September, I’d probably be more willing to give it a go. But, I have too much to do in November. There’s Thanksgiving, which some years requires travel, so you’re losing days automatically. Plus, my kids are out of school, and that’s never conducive to getting stuff done. Also, my husband and son were born in November, and they generally aren’t happy if I ignore them on their birthdays in favor of completing my word counts. Usually, I plan a birthday party for my son, which means I have to spend time baking cupcakes, making goodie bags and other party-related stuff. So, I’m never going to do NaNoWriMo.

Though, I do like the spirit of it, and I’m trying to get my word count up to that (or higher naturally). If I can achieve that level on days I’m writing, I’ll be pretty happy. But, I’m certainly not going to set myself up for defeat by trying to do 50,000 words in a month that I know I’m already going to be super busy.

So what are your thoughts on NaNoWriMo? Do you NaNo or  Say No?

(P.S. I’m running a weekend sale of Life First, as an Awesome Indies promotion. It’s 99 cents on Amazon and Google Play)

About RJ Crayton

RJ Crayton is a former journalist who now writes fiction. She's reported for the Kansas City Star and Wichita Eagle, as well as the smaller publications Education Technology News and Campus Crime. She has two published novels, Life First and Second Life and blogs for Indies Unlimited and the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. For exclusive content and first looks at her new work, sign up for the newsletter at
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10 Responses to NaNo no no no no no no!

  1. Sara Stark says:

    Personally, I agree with the attitude that just writing for the sake of word count is a bad idea, but with that said, I’m doing NaNo this year. I’m not stressed about “OMG, I didn’t write 1700 words today”, but NaNo has put a bit of pressure on me to work on my writing everyday. It’s too easy to get caught up in “other”, to easy to procrastinate. I guess NaNo , like everything else is good and bad. I wish they would stress more that if you’re very very lucky, you will still only come away with a sh#tty first draft. It’s not write a novel in a month. It’s start writing a novel in a month.

    • RJ Crayton says:

      Good luck with your NaNo project this year. I think the most important things about NaNo for a lot of people are (1) creating the habit of daily writing and (2) finishing a project. Once people realize they can get it done, they do. So, I think it’s good for those two things. I’m still writing this month–like I do every month–but obviously not committing to NaNo due to my own schedule. But, the goal is good. And you’re certainly right that people shouldn’t expect to come out of NaNo with a ready-to-be-published novel. It’s a first draft. But, like all first drafts, it needs to be revised a time or two before it’s worth publishing (AT least mine do).

  2. Fi Phillips says:

    I think you’re right. It’s a personal choice. I had a go at NaNo in 2012. Last year, I didn’t have the time. This year, I’m NaNo-ing again as a way to kickstart the first draft of my second novel (in a trilogy – first one 98% polished). This time round, NaNo suits my needs and available time.

  3. Dale says:

    I’ve done it and enjoyed it heaps. It is a great motivator, but it also gives writers an excuse to tell everyone to keep away. November is mine, MINE, I tell you. Get. Go on, get away from my desk. No, I don’t know where your blue shirt is. LOL

    • RJ Crayton says:

      Glad you’ve had a good experience with it, Dale. That excuse thing is an angle I hadn’t thought of. Certainly, that’s a good idea. 🙂

  4. Charles Ray says:

    I’ve done it a couple of time, just for kicks. I don’t need it for motivation, as I write 2,000+ words a day all year long, but it was a challenge, and I love challenges. Having said that, like you, this November is super busy for me (nothing to do with Thanksgiving, I’m doing two travel stints – Kentucky and London – which cut a two week chunk out of the month), so I’m saying No to NaNo this year. Next year? Who knows? Depends on what I’m doing.

    • RJ Crayton says:

      Sounds like you’ve had success with it, which is good. But, like so many things in life, timing is everything. This year, sounds like many of us, lack the time for it.

  5. No way, uh uh, nyet, non, nee, nein – need I go on? It’s just not for me. I wish those who take it on luck.

    • RJ Crayton says:

      Please, do go on, Yvonne. I want to know exactly how many ways you can say no. 🙂 It’s not for everyone. But nothing is. Like you, I’m happy to wish people doing it good luck and have myself a normal November.

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