3 Reasons Why I Don’t Do NaNoWriMo

Good afternoon, Arrowheads! So, over the past month, thousands of writers have been putting their blood, sweat, and tears into their NaNoWriMo projects, trying to dig 50,000 words out of their souls and slap them onto paper before November 30th hits. While that’s a noble effort for some writers out there, I personally have never participated in NaNoWriMo and most likely won’t in the future. Here’s why:


1. Writing Time Constraints and I Don’t Mix Well:

Back in elementary and high school, we had to take Writing Tests every few years to assess where our writing skills were. The test required students to write an essay based on a prompt and/or prompts the test makers chose.

There were several rules students had to follow to receive top scores on the test, and the test was timed. Though I have been involved in creative writing since I was seven, I never scored the highest level–a 4–on the Writing Test, though my writing endeavors had always been received with praise from my teachers. Needless to say, the Writing Tests, which judge the ability to stick to the prompt rules over that of actual writing quality, left a bad taste in my mouth.

If you didn’t get the whole thing written within the time limit, points were deducted. The whole purpose of NaNoWriMo is to pen an entire novel (or 50,000 word equivalent) in a month’s time.

To quote one of my all-time favorite movies, Toy Story 2, “you can’t rush art”.

Just like those dumb Writing Tests in school couldn’t rush a good essay out of me (even though I had the ability to write one), NaNoWriMo will not produce my best work. I’m the kind of writer who likes to slowly marinate in my WIPs, to really get to know the story and characters before hacking away for an ending. A 30-day time crunch is not going to allow my creative juices to flow, but instead just crush my juice pouch. XD That’s just for me personally, though. Others have and will continue to survive the time crunch with awesome final products.

2. It’s a Writer Trend and I Don’t Do Trends

*Tosses hair over shoulder* Not that I’m a hipster or anything, but most of the time when something is popular and “anyone who’s anyone” likes it/does it, my stubborn little butt will make a point of not jumping on the bandwagon.

And it’s not entirely because I think NaNoWriMo is a fad that will pass in a few years; tons and tons of writers are helping maintain its longevity. My problem with NaNoWriMo as a “trend” is that many writers treat NaNoWriMo participation and/or success like a status token for being *game show host voice* The Ultimate Writer.

I make a point of not reading my Twitter feed during NaNoWriMo to avoid the endless posts about stressing over daily word counts. I feel like there’s this stigma where if you don’t get your word count or don’t participate at all that you’re considered “a fake writer”.

Guys, a “real writer”  is anyone who makes up stories and puts them down on a  page. If you’ve got a story to tell, you’re a writer. Period. Don’t let all of that technical hoo-ha get you down. 😉

3. I Can’t Cram NaNoWriMo into my Schedule

Kudos to the writers who can creatively make time in their busy schedules (or for others, make use of extensive time in their not-so-busy schedules) to successfully make it through NaNoWriMo. If I still had the schedule I had in high school or college, I might would take on the challenge for the heck of it. But, the main reason I will not even attempt NaNoWriMo is due to my schedule.

From 8 to 5, I have a full-time job. Monday through Friday, I have two nights (Monday and Tuesday) that I can solely dedicate to writing endeavors, and I’m usually not home on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday nights until 10-ish. I usually go to bed at 11:30-ish and wake up anywhere from 6:00 to 6:20.

Granted, I could get some writing done on those 10:00 nights before bed, but by that time I’m usually tired as all get out and would rather relax and read. So, you see, a daily writing schedule will not work for me at this point in my life, and I’d rather not add more stress to my already anxiety-ridden plate. If writing was my full-time job, I would definitely consider doing NaNoWriMo more. But, for now, the chances are slim to none.

Talk to me, Arrowheads!

Do you participate in NaNoWriMo? What are its pros and cons? Do you think it’s a good investment of your time?

Aim high, stay strong, and always hit your mark.

-Allyson 😀

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As an author and blogger, my goal is to teach writers that there is a way to write realistic, thought-provoking, redemptive Christian fiction that honors God while not sugarcoating the realities of the world. 

6 thoughts on “3 Reasons Why I Don’t Do NaNoWriMo

  1. Don’t do it either…and I have no idea what it means. And I’m too busy right now re-typing my two printed books in order to format them into e-books to participate in it anyway, whatever it is.

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  2. I’ve done NaNoWriMo…9 times? I didn’t finish my projects the first 2-3 times because I didn’t outline (outlining is very helpful). The fourth time around, which was NaNo November 2017, I made it halfway, which I considered a huge accomplishment because that was the highest word count I’d ever written so far. Then last year, I finished my April NaNo and November NaNo projects, but the one in July went kaput. (Mainly because of family vacations)

    And this year, so far, I finished in April (technically the first day of May because I started feeling sick and was getting a headache when I tried finishing on the last night of NaNo), and this month…July is just a meh month for me when it comes to NaNo, it seems.

    In regards to it being a good investment of my time…I find it was helpful in actually getting a full draft finished. So far, I have three drafts finished for three novels. The only problem is the 25k one is the sequel to the 50k one and needs to be reworked to include the changes I made in the first book because I kind of wrote the sequel first. And the third finished draft is the third book to another series…and is the only completed one so far. (Yes, I write books in series out of order. I’m crazy that way)

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    1. That’s awesome that you got that much accomplished! 🙂 I agree, having an outline is super helpful. I used to be a hardcore pantser, but ended up never getting anything done (which is why it took me seven years to finish another novel after my first XD). I now try to get around 10k a month in, but life happens, like you mentioned. 🙂

      There’s nothing wrong with writing series out of order! As long as you’re writing, that’s all that matters! 🙂

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      1. I always had trouble not finishing because I would jump from one prject to the next. I still kinda do it sometimes. Like, this month, I wanted to write Into My Life, but ended up adding The Woodsman as a side thing, then decided to just work on TW because IML only let me get 340 words in and wouldn’t budge after that.

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