Why I Am Not Doing NaNoWriMo This Year


For those of you that are not familiar with NaNoWriMo, the acronym stands for National Novel Writing in a Month. The object of NaNoWriMo is to write a 50,000 word draft of a novel during November. The whole thing started in July of 1999. Chris Baty and 20 of his friends – out of boredom – decided to try and write a novel in the space of one month. The group, having had a lot of fun, and coming out with a draft for a novel,  grew the concept. Writing an original piece of work in a month switched to November. Soon the event went international. Writers around the world participated in the seat-of-your-pants, put-your-editor-in-the-other-room challenge.

This year NaNoWriMo expects at least 400,000 people to start the month off trying to write that first draft of a novel. Not all will finish – according to the NaNoWriMo website – “Last year, NaNoWriMo welcomed 394,507 participants, in 646 different regions, on six continents. Of these, more than 58,000 met their month-long writing goal.”

Also according to their website “Hundreds of NaNoWriMo novels have been traditionally published. They include Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, Hugh Howey’s Wool, Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, Jason Hough’s The Darwin Elevator, and Marissa Meyer’s Cinder.”

I have participated in NaNo since 2009 and published one novel The Peacock’s Tale because of NaNo. I have at least three unfinished manuscripts and one other finished one which still has not been published – all started as NaNo projects. As you see, I don’t always finish NaNo, but I find the challenge exhilarating. I have had NaNo interrupted several times by “real life” and had to put my writing on hold; I think only three times I have finished the challenge of writing 50,000 words in November.

This year I signed up. I even had a title, but that’s where the juices to write that many words stopped. My muse just would not come out to play, perhaps because she was too busy helping me with poems and short stories; facilitating the Winter Garden Ink & Quill writing group; and writing this blog. After four days of struggling to start, I realized I didn’t have the energy to devote to this challenge – at least this year.  And you know, that’s OK, because there is always next year and in between, there are lots of opportunities to write lots of other things. In other words – my writing cup runneth over!

How about you? Are you participating In NANo this year? Good luck to all who take up the challenge! Comments are welcome.

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