NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)

30 days. One new novel. 50,000+ words. Can I do it?


This November, like every November, is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, during which thousands of writers across the globe take on the challenge of writing a novel (well, 50,000 words of a new work of fiction). I only learned about NaNoWriMo this year, so I’ve never done it. When I first considered doing it, my thought was…. I have to take oral exams. I’m looking for jobs. My life is kind of unsettled right now and I don’t know I have time to do this.

Well, today I realized that there will never be a good year to undertake NaNoWriMo. I have to imagine it’s kind of like having a baby, in that if you wait for the perfect moment, the perfect setup, you’re going to be waiting pretty much forever. So I’m going to do it. I think I’m going to suck it up, move up the release of “The Magic Council” to October to clear writing obligations on my calendar for November, and attempt to write a NaNoWriMo novel. (Plus, being Catholic, I have the upside of November 1st  being a Holy Day of Obligation. It’s All Saints Day, so I have to go to Church. Seems like a decent way to start  such a mammoth undertaking….  50k/30=1667 words a DAY in November. That requires a lot of consistency over a long period of time, and such dedication is tough when you have other things going on in life…. which, of course, we all do.


One of the reasons I’m excited at the prospect of NaNoWriMo is that I can’t see myself succeeding without having a very clear idea of what I need to write and where my story is going. I’ve been saying I’d like to work with some kind of an outline for my next novel, because I never have done that and I think I’d benefit from trying an outline out. Well, the challenge of 50k words in a month will hold me to developing an outline ahead of time. I have a full month to get my ideas together, figure out who my supporting cast of characters will be, and plot, plot, plot before November comes, when it’s time to write, write, write. This is the strategy I have seen proposed on various blogs by various writers who have succeed at the NaNoWriMo challenge, so I think I’ll follow their example.

I see nothing but failure for me without using an outline, which would allow for optimal use of writing time. Less time spent plotting during the month of November will mean more time writing.

Something that’s fun to consider is that this will be the first novel I’ve written in YEARS that’s not a part of my Herezoth trilogy. Which means, even if it takes place in Herezoth, I won’t be dealing with familiar, comfortable characters. That’s exciting and scary, because I don’t know how used I’ve gotten to that advantage; it really is an advantage in my mind, when you go to start a novel, to already have at least one full novel behind you that’s dealt with the same people. So, we will see how this goes! It’s possible I”ll change my mind before November even starts and not participate in NaNoWriMo, but I’m hoping that writing this post will force my hand and bring me to do it. I’m way too prone to doubting myself and changing my mind about things and then changing it back. This is an exercise in perseverance, determination, and decision-making. So let’s do it! NOVEMBER=50,000 words.

Has anyone done NaNoWriMo? Anyone else planning to do it for the first time this year? Please let me know! I’d love advice, and/or someone to push me to stay on track during November, whom I could also hold accountable.


10 responses to “NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)

  1. I need to get more information about this, but I think I might try it as well. I’m a much less experienced writer than you, but I love a challenge. No – I NEED a challenge to get this writing thing off the ground. I’ll be interested to see how it goes for you as well. Good luck!

  2. I would like to give it a try myself. I hope you go ahead and let us know how you are progressing. It will be like working for a magazine, having a daily word count and deadline to stick to. Nothing I am not used to, however I have rarely had to connect assignments, and then only a few short pieces for a series. Writing a full novel in a month seems impossible, but if it was not difficult everyone would do it. Good luck, I wish you every success.

    • Thanks! I’m more shooting for the 50k word mark than to finish a novel. My shortest novel has been 125k so I don’t expect to finish the full novel in November. Was definitely planning to give updates though!

  3. I’ve heard of this but I don’t plan on doing it. 50k words a month is too daunting. I like to take my time. Slow roast, you know?

    • totally. that’s usually me too! I just figured I wanted something to spice things up. and I kind of feel like it’s a rite of passage I should go through…. not that everyone needs to do it, for sure, but I feel like the challenge will be beneficial for me.

  4. I’ve done NaNoWriMo a couple of times. I don’t believe (at all) in the “just write, then throw away” mantra others have done. I’ve had success by doing all the prep work in advance (laying out the basic plot, characters, and structure) and then using the month to just write.

    It sounds daunting, but the truth is the only real challenge is consistency. You need to average 1667 words per day. That is not too hard, provided you have weekends available to write (or at least a free day you can devote to writing). My advice, if you try it, is to have a pretty good idea of what you are going to write about in advance, and setting up times to write every day. There are also tons of groups of people who meet together to write. I’ve only done those a few times, usually when I have NO DESIRE to write otherwise.

    Lastly, just because you do it doesn’t mean you have to shoot for 50K. If you write slower, set a lower goal that will still encourage you to write daily. I write fast, so I usually shoot for 60K.

  5. I plan to do it as well! :3 I was planning to my sophomore year in HS, but, alas, I changed my mind. I, too, plan to start pre-plotting, doing an outline (or outlines.. we’ll see), etc. I wish you the best of luck, and, if you wish, I’ll be here to push you when you need it. 🙂 I’m rather good at that..

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