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Monday, October 05, 2009

National Novel Writing Month

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

Next month is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) where hundreds of writers sign up at together and try to encourage each other to write 50,000 words from November 1 to 30.

Personally, I have never participated in this. Many of my friends have. They say it is a blessed motivation for them.
Me. I'm different. I have my little schedule. While I don't write 50,000 words in a month, I am pretty consistent in writing 3,000 to 4,000 a week, unless I'm sick, traveling, or something unusual is going on in my week. So with stubborn persistence and fortitude on consistency, I finally get there three to four months later.

One reason I have never participated is because I work a full-time job outside the home. I don't feel that such a plan would be realistic for me. I hate failure and and I'm very tough on myself. If I were to participate, I'd kill myself trying to make it work.

It's a daily struggle to not resent my need to work full-time, even though it is a blessing to have my job. So for me personally, I avoid things that might tempt me to resent my job even more, and NaNoWriMo would be one of those things since my desire is to write full-time. It's a coping mechanism for me.

But what about you? Have you ever attempted it? If not, is it something you think would motivate you? If so, were you successful? How did it help?


I have been tempted to try it, but, like you, have a full time job. It is difficult. This time of year is extremely taxing at work and makes me not even want to write. (gasp) I have the summer off, so I participated in the July NaWriMo. I was very productive and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I could never do it in Nov. though!

NaNoWriMo is the reason I started writing again. I did have a full-time job at the time (but no kids!) and I didn't "win" but I did write 30K words that would not have been written otherwise. I think it is an amazing project and I'm so grateful to Chris Baty for starting it!

I love Nanowrimo, despite its stress. I am highly self-critical, so shooting for something other than brilliance (word count only) is basically therapy for me. I get to just enjoy the bliss of writing like a maniac. I have a full-time job as well, and some people only do it on the weekends. I really do recommend it highly. It's just a commitment to write every day, or even just a few more words than you might normally.

I did this last year, and I'm signed up again this year. I love NaNoWriMo, just because of the challenge (I love a challenge). I did make it to the finish line last year, even with an unexpected funeral trip, and a week of missed writing time.

I've thought about trying it, but I also have a more-than-fulltime job (I'm a lawyer) and a LONG commute, AND a husband and three teenagers at home. Like you, I would kill myself trying to do it, and I just can't inflict that on my family. Someday. . . .

This challenge is a tempting one for me. For the first time in nearly 20 years I am out of a job so I am not working full time like the others who have responded. I started my blog, ,
about 2 weeks ago and have been writing pretty diligently for less than an hour a day and in that time, in the blog only, have managed about 10,000 words of blog. This doesn't include comments I've made on other blogs and emails I have sent. With persistence I know I can do this if I force myself. My question is this: Is that just 50,000 words of unedited output? Or is this 50,000 words of finished product?
I will check out the website.

It didn't help that everyone vanished from crit groups to do this NaMo thing! Apart from that, I'm still not tempted to try it. It seems too much like forcing something into daylight for me.

I tried it last year, hoping that the pressure would silence the internal editor and help me get my story out on paper. It did that and I was making great progress - until I came down with bronchitis and pneumonia and spent two weeks in bed, too sick to even think.

I'm leaning toward trying again this year. But, maybe off the official radar. (Then I can't "officially" fail.) Success for me would be significant progress on my next book before the Holidays and the end of the year.

Maybe you can set a smaller goal for yourself and track that progress instead?

At this point in my life, I would have to say I'd feel the same way as you.

Stop by my blog to receive a blog award that is waiting for you.

Julie =)

Awesome! I've never tried it but good luck.

Sherrinda, I don't have summers off, so I'm somewhat jealous!

CKHB, I hope you're able to participate this year. It's experiences like yours that make me wish I could try it.

Lindsey, I thought about the weekends, but I'm books all through November with my family.

Stina, You must be dedicated, especially with a funeral and a week off!

Laura, My commute is pretty long as well. I chose it though, b/c we moved so my daughter could go to the school here. The sacrifices us parents make...

Arlee, It's 50,000 words of unedited output. The goal is not to stop and edit until you finish so you can write as many words as possible.

Jen, I didn't realize people had vanished from our critique group for that reason since it doesn't start until November.

Candee, I hope you stay well through out the NaNoWriMo! Our household recovered from the flu 2 weeks ago.

Julie, Thanks! I'll stop by.

Last year - I referred to last year, and not just to the critique group we share but others as well. To complete the NaMo task they didn't have time for anything else!

Hi Jennifer -

I've never participated in this marathon. The first year I heard about it I was in a cast and couldn't type a dozen words much less 50,000.

Maybe I'll try it someday, but right now I'd only be setting myself up for failure.


Okay, Jen, that would make sense. I hope we don't have as many who disappear from the group this year.