N is for NaNoWriMo

nanowrimo-posterIts no secret that I am in love with NaNoWriMo. I love the inspiration it gives me and other writers, I love the community that is built around it, and I love the anticipation of knowing that I will be surrendering myself to an entire month of writing abandon…and that, at some point in the not-too-distant future, I will revisit this project and it will become something even greater if I put the effort into it.

To the critics who criticize the process, saying it promotes quantity over quality, I say: Wrong. It inspires writers to get off their ass and write something. No one ever said first drafts were pretty anyway. To call yourself a writer, you must do one thing only: write. Writing well is something that comes from practice.

I’ve been participating in NaNoWriMo since 2009. I signed up that year and promptly failed miserably. I learned pretty quickly that I was not prepared for the commitment and that I could- and would- do better the following November. And I did. 2010, 2011, and 2012 were all winning years for me, and this year I’m stretching even further and am/will be participating in the April and July Camp NaNoWriMo sessions.


Why NaNoWriMo? Why not just write when inspiration strikes? Because most of us writers are also perfectionists. And if we wait for the perfect ideas and the perfect moment, we will write very little and very seldom. NaNoWriMo not only provides specific goals and timetables, but a community of fellow writers pushing you every step of the way. It’s fun, and exciting, and having something tangible to work with at the end of thirty days is like a gift that keeps on giving. The process has taught me better discipline as a writer, and has introduced me to some pretty awesome folks along the way.

I have created a NaNoWriMo page on my blog, that is a central place for my history with NaNo, my updates, links to my profile, and any articles I write about my experiences, as well as tips and tricks. Its easily accessible from the main page, using either the top menu or side menu navigation.

4/16 Camp NaNoWriMo Update: 30k words. Scheduled to finish 5 days early.

Happy noveling!


23 thoughts on “N is for NaNoWriMo

  1. You hit the nail on the head with me here, Sarah, with these sentences:

    “…most of us writers are also perfectionists. And if we wait for the perfect ideas and the perfect moment, we will write very little and very seldom.”

    Darn that perfectionist mind.

  2. Yep. I tried throwing caution to the wind and just writing slop. It got my five thousand words farther than I expected originally and now I’m not sure if I want to delete it or edit it or publish it to the blog as is and make you all laugh. 🙂 You rock lady!

  3. I have yet to find the time to participate and even if I did, I’m not sure I could write that much lol! Kudos for being part of it for so long 🙂

  4. You are so right. All the times before when I tried to write, I would hurt my progress, with editing and being a perfectionist, which then made it awful. This challenge gave me something to push for and I have 54,323 words 14 days early. Though I have finished the 50k I am still writing. well I found my ending but still have so much work. It is the perfect gift. In my hands I will hold at least half of my very first novel. And like you have met lots of people doing what I am doing. Congrats on your progress

    1. Exactly! Holding something you’ve created is the best feeling in the world. I’ll never forget when I received my first copy of St. Charles in the mail. Even my husband, who never gets excited about anything, was jumping for joy.

      1. I can’t wait to feel that. Your husband sounds like Tommy, he doesn’t really get excited but I bet he will be once it is published.

  5. I’ve only tried NaNo once, and didn’t stick with it. Too much life got in the way, or NaNo just wasn’t enough of a priority. Maybe this year I’ll try again.

  6. Great post, Sarah – I could easily have gone for Nano for my N post too, but I wrote about it just after my first one last year. I loved it, and completely agree – for me it taught me to ditch the inner editor and just write. I am yet to get to the end of my first draft for my novel, but it has allowed me to finish a number of short stories – including rewrites and edits, so it has literally given me a fresh start with Writing. Keep up the good work!

    Kelly’s Eye – Writing, Music, Life

    1. Thank you! Regardless of our writing goals, I believe NaNo inspires us to hit them. I’ve always considered myself a writer, but NaNo helped give me the discipline to actually write. I love hearing others say it did the same for them!

  7. I agree with you… only good can come out of NaNoWriMo. I did it one year but ended up sidetracked so I didn’t complete my 50,000 words. But I have written that amount during other months. I do love the supportive nature of all NaNoWriMoers though! 😀
    Suzy Turner, YA Author

    1. I agree, even if you don’t finish its still more than you had before you started, so I still see it as a success. Nothing motivates me to write more words than having some already written. Thanks for stopping by Suzy!

  8. I couldn’t agree more. While there are many posts on NaNo about word padding and how to up your word count by any means, there are just as many from people asking how to make their book the best it cane. I wouldn’t have a published book if it wasn’t for NaNo!

    Rinelle Grey

    1. I’ll never understand the word count padding. Its not as if there’s a prize at the end, other than your own pride…and what’s to be proud of if you cheat?

      And NaNo helped me turn one book into a series…and now I have more stuff than I have time to edit!

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