Do you NaNo?

INaNoWriMo crest. know lots of writers who swear by NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). It’s a great motivator as thousands of people around the globe all pledge to write 50,000 words in a month. Plenty of published novels — some even New York Times bestsellers — started out as NaNoWriMo projects.

I’ve only done NaNoWriMo once before. Usually November is a busy month for me, and last year, when I had a NaNo project in mind I didn’t want to wait until November, so I fast-drafted during the end of September and October. But I’ve always loved the sense of community NaNoWriMo creates, and for the last three years I’ve signed my library up to be an official Come Write In location. This year, I’m encouraging my teens to do the Young Writers Program (and seeing if I can convince their English teachers to offer participants extra credit). It feels wrong to encourage so many others to do something I won’t do myself.

So this year I’m doing NaNoWriMo again. I have no idea what I’m going to write, but I have a month to figure it out. And this way, when my young writers stress about word counts or sagging middles, I’ll be in the trenches with them. We can fight our way out together.

Do you participate in NaNoWriMo?


3 thoughts on “Do you NaNo?

  1. rbrothers

    I’m a big proponent of NaNoWriMo, both as a writing tool and a social platform. One of my favorite aspects is the forums, especially the Reference Desk, where people are offering their expertise in all kinds of areas, from murder investigations to 16th-century Dutch maternity care. (If you want to experience unparalleled popularity, become an expert in undetectable poisons and sign up for NaNoWriMo. You’ll be one of the most beloved people in the forums.)

    If pressed, however, I’d have to say that I find Camp NaNoWriMo a little more valuable as a writer. It’s a similar marathon-type event, but it’s held in July, and you get to pick your own wordcount goal and genre. For the half-finished stories lounging around in my files, Camp NaNoWriMo is often the push I need to get them to fully-formed first-draft status. It’s also a little less social, with fewer bells and whistles, so I can’t get distracted as much.

    I’ve heard a lot of people trashing NaNoWriMo, and I think the point they frequently miss (or ignore) is that NaNovels aren’t necessarily written to be read. Sure, there will be some NaNovelists plaguing agents with their unedited projects every December, but for the most part, I think we just use it as a marathon-writing workshop or a personal challenge. Maybe we’ll revise our work and try to publish it; maybe we’ll just laugh ruefully and toss it into the Drawer of Oblivion. Either way, participating in NaNoWriMo is a perfectly legitimate choice.

    If you’re looking for Writing Buddies on the site, just let me know! I’d be happy to send along my username.

    1. Liz Osisek Post author

      I’m absolutely a proponent of NaNoWriMo! I haven’t heard many people trashing it. While I don’t normally do NaNo, because I’m not usually drafting in November, I often fast draft and then go back and make major edits. The beauty of fast-drafting (and NaNoWriMo) is it forces me to stop getting in my own way by over-thinking and just write.

      I will be doing NaNoWriMo as an educator for the Young Writers Program this year. I’d feel hypocritical encouraging my teens to try it and not doing it myself. But I’ll try to keep track of my progress on the main NaNo site as well. If you want to be buddies, look for me as lizthelibrarian. I’ll be honest, I don’t participate much in the forums, but I’ll keep an eye out for you!

      Best of luck with your NaNo project!

      1. rbrothers

        I couldn’t agree more! I think I like to romanticize the writing process in my mind, and NaNoWriMo forces me to push past that, sit down, and actually get to work.

        Best of luck to you next month! If you get a Writing Buddy request from knottedcord21, that’s me.

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