Okay, it’s that time of year again. The time where writers everywhere are abuzz on blogs and Twitter asking the question, “Are you doing NaNoWriMo?”

If you’ve been living under a rock the past few years, the idea of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. This isn’t the time to write beautiful prose; it’s time to write CRAP and get words on the page. That’s the first step, right?

In 2008, I made a NaNo profile but didn’t participate.

Last year, in 2009, I joined in, but only lasted about a week. I became “too busy” (a likely excuse!) and gave up. I returned to the manuscript I started in a creative writing class last spring, so the week I participated wasn’t for nothing.

So, will I participate this year?

Last year, I put a lot of pressure on myself ; I anxiously waited at my computer and started writing at 12:01 am on November 1. About a half hour later, I crashed and burned. I had no outline; I had written a few paragraphs and then stared blankly at the screen.

This year, I will most likely join in, but for different reasons than in years past. In years past, my goal was to complete a 50,000 word novel in a month. This year my goals are to:

1. Start the novel. NaNoWriMo gives me a little bit of structure to actually get started. If I have a start date of November 1 and an end date of November 30, I will be more likely to actually get started. And then once I’ve started, it will hopefully become second nature to write daily.

2. I am excited to get in the “writerly spirit” along with several thousand other people. Last week, Sandy made a comment that really struck me. She said,

“I like the idea of everyone writing together-writing is such a solitary act but knowing that someone else is going through the same thing you are makes it a little less lonely.”

Through this incredible book/writing community, the writerly spirit is alive year round, but there’s just something about the November crisp air and the beginning of NaNoWriMo that inspires me.

3. I’m hoping to meet people through NaNo (or through this blog!) who’d like to be part of a critique group or just a writing group in general. I’d love to have a solid group of people to turn to to chat about our latest works in progress and provide advice and tips to each other.  Lately, I’ve read several posts about how beneficial their writing groups have been to their novels and I’d love to make those connections too. The discussion boards on the NaNo site are wonderful; NaNo also offers in-person “write-in’s” for people to all get together at a local coffee shop to sit and write. I think this might be the perfect way to meet some writing friends. (If anyone is interested in putting together an online writing group with me, let me know in the comments!)

While I won’t be putting pressure on myself to finish a novel in November, I’m using NaNo as a tool to reach my other writing goals and to get myself started on the novel. I’m really excited to join in on a no-pressure to finish in 30 days basis. I think it will help me to be more creative and productive than giving myself a super short deadline.

I’ll be blogging more about NaNo as it gets closer and throughout the month, so stay tuned for my NaNo journey!

If you’re joining in, be sure to friend me on the site so we can follow each others progress!

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? Why or why not? Do you have any specific NaNo goals?


14 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo?”

  1. I’m not participating in NaNo this year (it just doesn’t work with my revising schedule…still fixing last year’s NaNo project!) but I did really enjoy last year. I met some great people, both on and offline, many of whom I’m still friends with. I agree that the group effort behind NaNo is really comforting.

    1. It’s awesome that you completed a whole nano project last year though! I hope to meet great people too 🙂 Let me know if you know anyone looking for a writers group since I know you’re already part of an awesome one.

  2. I’m still on the fence about doing NaNoWriMo. I created an account last year and I didn’t write a SINGLE word. I think I put too much pressure on myself, expecting too much and all that stress just killed it for me (plus, it was my first year in college and November is full of midterms….more stress! eek!) I have been wanting to write again, but I’ve decided not to psych myself out this year and expect 50,000 words in one month. I’ve got two research papers looming in the horizon and I have to focus on those but…if I DO try NaNo this year, I’m just going to write what I can, when I can. I think the idea, the FRENZY of writing a manuscript in one month made me too idealistic. But I’ve broken through that and I’m just going to focus on actually writing stuff out. NaNo’s supposed to help you, not make you go crazier.

    Huh! I didn’t think that one statement would make such an impact! I’m happy it did, though 🙂 I wish you well on your NaNoWriMo journey–I’ll be rooting for you!

    1. Love your viewpoint on NaNo!

      Last year was my senior year of college and I was just wayyyy too busy to do it; it wasn’t realistic. It’s good to know your own limits and expectations; that way you won’t be disappointed.

  3. I’m participating this year. Its my first. I’ve thought about it in the past but never signed up. This year I’m determined. I am little overwhelmed by it. I like your idea of setting goals. Maybe its enough to just be taking part no matter how many words you write.

    1. I completely agree! It’s exciting to get swept into the NaNo fun, but for me, it’s all about setting realistic expectations. I know myself and I know that I probably won’t succeed, which is why I’m breaking it into smaller chunks 🙂

      Good luck! I can’t wait to read about your progress.

  4. Good for you! I’d love to do this, not to write a novel, but to get a headstart on my next non-fiction book. But I’ve got too much on my plate right now! May still try it for two weeks or so 🙂

  5. Terrific post and I’m sure you’ll be able to get your 50K down. And you are so right, its not about finishing, it’s about getting in the habit to write everyday (although, I write for a living, so I have to write or edit everyday!)

    1. Writing is part of my job too, which is why I sometimes think it’s difficult for me to write when I come home. I hope I’ll be successful! We’ll see.

  6. This is my first year doing it. I’ve already finished one novel (unpublished) and wanted a kick in the pants to get going on a 2nd one. I love your goals. I think too many writers put too much pressure on themselves to complete a certain word count or write an entire book in a month, but really, I think if you come out of it with the habit of writing then you’re golden. That’s my biggest goal – to make writing a “job” again. Make it part of my day – a part of my day that I wouldn’t skip out on – just like I wouldn’t skip out on work. I do want to hit the 50,000 mark, but if I don’t but am back in the habit of writing daily, I’ll call it a success.

    1. Absolutely! What a great idea to think of it as “work.” You’re certainly right; I would not skip work, so I shouldn’t skip writing either.

      What’s your NaNo novel going to be about? I’d love to chat more with you about your writing 🙂

  7. Hey Jess! I have also taken the plunge this year. I am actually really nervous lol. For my current WIP, I just went with the flow and 6 months later am not finished. So for the next week, I am going to plot, plan and outline so I have something to go with. One of my main goals, like yours, is to just get into a writing pattern. And I will definitely be part of your critique group!!!!

    1. Ah, I really need to get jumpstarted on outlining! I haven’t done that yet….yikes!

      We need to plan for our critique group 🙂

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I live by the saying “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” and help others do the same to reach their biggest, brightest goals. Read my story here.

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