Should you do NaNoWriMo?

It’s almost that time of year again. That hectic month in which the writing community bands together in an attempt to write as much as humanly possible. A lot of people are gearing up. Right now you can find lots of blog posts and videos (I recommend the YA WordNerds) about prepping for NaNo. But a lot of you may be asking if you should even participate.

Don’t get me wrong. I love NaNoWriMo. But I realize it’s not for everyone. Here are a couple guidelines to deciding whether you should join in or not.

Reasons you should do NaNoWriMo:

  • You’ve never tried it before. I don’t think you can really know if NaNo really works for your writing style unless you’ve actually done it. At least once. I’m also just generally a proponent of trying new writing tricks and techniques. Be adventures. Explore a little!
  • You’re a deadline/goal oriented person. I can be ridiculously competitive person. Seeing that word count chart really gets my blood pumping and helps me write more.
  • You just need to get words on paper. You can always fix it later, but you really need to have something to fix first.
  • You have a crazy idea you really just want to try out.
  • You’re impatient. Or you just like checking things off as done. NaNoWriMo is great for getting something done really fast, even if it’s lower quality.

Reasons NaNoWriMo may not be for you:

  • It stresses you out too much. If you’re going into crisis mode trying to meet word counts, you should probably just sit it out.
  • You have other projects in the middle of.
  • You’re revising something that’s close to being query/publication ready.
  • You’ve done it before and didn’t feel like it helped you out.

Ultimately the choice is up to you. Everyone’s writing process is a little different. You do you.


2 thoughts on “Should you do NaNoWriMo?

  1. Thanks for this post. I recently read No Plot? No Problem! and found myself leaning more towards not participating. I have a full time job -as do others whp participate – but also realized I write differently. I’m not a fan of throwing whatever I can on the page. I think it through first and do revise while writing. Not query – worthy revising, but more like produce something that is more of a second draft quality when done. Sitting on it helps me get better ideas to develop, whereas I find myself hating my first draft so much otherwise that I just throw it away along with the project.

    This has somehow felt wrong to me, just from writing advice, but I went to a talk with Maria V Snyder recently and it turns out she writes similarly. I guess no one way is right for everyone, and that’s why I appreciated this post because there is a lot of pressure to do NaNoWriMo. I do however like the idea of sitting down and making goals, doing writing sprints, etc. I am considering doing a weekend writing retreat sometime because it’s not hard for me to produce 5k in a day IF I have a good environment. Could you do a post on that sort of thing? Or maybe ways to set up a good writing environment without going broke at Panera? For some of us, even with locking the door, the home is just not a conducive environment for writing.

    • Thank you for your thoughts. I’m glad you’re figuring out what works for you! You should look into following Write All Year. They host writing sprints and have accountability/ word count goal tools. Sort of the NaNo community without being NaNo.

      I’ll have to think about a post on environment. I do think it’s a good idea.

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