Why NaNoWriMo Is Not For Me.

Plus, another idea instead.

The time of the year is horrible…

It’s getting cold. The time changes and the days are shorter. Halloween hangover bleeds into Thanksgiving plans and then you shop for Christmas. Your life takes on a different rhythm. That makes it harder to start something ambitious and new, not easier (And, just speaking from a completely personal interest— sports become awesome again in November).

And the timeframe seems arbitrary…

Why a month? And why now? Why not June? Everything seems good in June. You know lots of daylight. Nothing much going on. Just people doing their thing. Seems like a good time to try a grand project.

Plus the word count is ridiculous…

If you wrote 1000 words, good words, everyday for 30 days, you’ll end up at 30,000 words. That’s not a novel, that’s a novella. Which is cool, but let’s call it what it is. 1000 (good, usable) words is the regular benchmark even for established fiction writers. Some days (of course) you’ll bust through and make it to two or three thousand words a day. Awesome. Now you’re at 90,000 words which is great — Writer’s Digest suggest novels be between 80,000 and 89,000 words. You have a novel.

That doesn’t mean it’s readable…

Any writer will tell you to edit stuff a million times. And to rework the sentences. This is an essential part of the “writing” process.

But that’s considering you did your pre-work…

You have to have a story to tell. Which means ideation and outlines. Character development. You know, actually thinking about what your book is about before diving into writing.

Maybe that’s what the month of October is for. I don’t read the propaganda around NaNoWriMo so maybe it is.

The intention is good, but it’s just not for me.

…I don’t get motivated by stuff like this.

Take off the month of November instead…?

It should be the opposite. Write everyday on your novel except for November. Yeah, that’s it. The month of November should be for taking off from your novel. How about that? Write everyday but the month of November. There, make that your goal. Then you’ll actually get a novel done, maybe more than one. Maybe I’ll try that.


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I’m Josh Spilker, a writer and author. I blog about the writing process at Create, Make, Write and write about everyday life at Vaguely Feel. For more like this, follow this publication: