I’ll be trying my hand at National Novel Writing Month this year, but not in the traditional sense. I’ll still work towards 50k words in 30 days, just not for a singular piece of work.
What is your opinion regarding Nanowrimo? Have you ever successfully completed one? Do you feel like it’s worth the extra effort? Are there other challenges that you feel are more applicable to your style or goals?
This can be an open discussion about anything related to Nanowrimo, word count goals, or other writing events that take place throughout the year. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts! ~ WM
I use NaNoWriMo as an annual kick in the pants. I'm already working on two new books (and my new Substack), but tracking myself on NaNoWriMo and encouraging other writers is a fun way to close out the year (plus it ends up giving me finished first drafts).
NB: I write novellas, so I "cheat" and work on two or three projects during NaNoWriMo in order to meet the 50k-word requirement. I also cheat in that I've usually already started the projects....
I've done nano a couple of times. I think it's a great initiative and can work wonders for some people. The first time I did it was before I started writing properly, and I found it really useful for romping through a project from start to finish. It was a super rough end result, but it was one of the first times I'd completed an initial manuscript.
I attempted it a second time a few years back as a potential way to kickstart a new project (No Adults Allowed, I think), but found it to be too restrictive. By that point I was already writing regularly and had found a good rhythm, so the nano approach felt more disruptive than useful.
Traditionally published UK writer Elizabeth Haynes still uses nano to do her first drafts. I interviewed her about it back in 2018: https://nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk/article/nanowrimo-primer-with-elizabeth-haynes/
Not trying to self-promote, but I already wrote about this, so for the sake of brevity and NaNo time management: https://tvansantana.substack.com/p/november-is-national-novel-writing
My writing process is like cold brew coffee making so no nanoing for me, unfortunately. Have tried prompt writing which I can do but feels like slowly plucking out my fingernails with rusty pliers.
I did NaNoWriMo when I first started out as a writer, but eventually realized that it doesn't really work for me. I need time to really consider where the story is going, and can't write from an outline in my first draft. Personally, I think it would be better for beginners to start out with short stories anyhow. Not because they're easier, but because they give you a chance to try out a bunch of different ideas and techniques without having to commit to a massive project.
I was going to, and then changed to another story with two days to go, and when I started last night, only wrote 250-300 words before I hit a snag. This morning, I discovered that I have to research this things because it's true and if I screw this up, I'll be called a Racist, and Imperialist, and Colonial old Fuck, so I thought, nope, I need to take a second look at it. So I dug out an old story I started in the summertime and thought, yeah, this one. It's only 3500 words, which catches me up; it's a fantasy, and I don't need to do a lot of world-building. But I want to write more than 1600 words a day. 50,000 words doesn't feel like it will be long enough for a book. That's novella territory from where I sit. So, THE BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO TIME TRAVEL is officially underway.
I tried it a few times, not so much to write something new, but to force my hand at tackling heavy revisions. I would break up a draft into sections according to the word count requirements and force myself to edit them on the schedule so by the end of the month I'd have a fully revised MS. It was somewhat handy for that. Of course, with a little discipline, I can do this on my own.
I deleted my account on principle when they instituted their new community guidelines that instituted censorship and speech codes. I never participated in their community, but when they asked for "feedback," I went on the discussion thread to respectfully lodge my concerns; my mildly dissenting comments were immediately flagged and removed. It all felt very surreal and soviet, so I deleted my account and now I refuse to support the site even in theory. Behind the cartoonish logos and awards, it's a dark place.
Never done it. Seems like a good way for some writers to prolifically pump out prose. I write first drafts pretty fast anyway, then spend a year revising. To each their own. Very subjective decision, obviously.