Why I’m Not Doing NaNoWriMo, and Why That’s Okay

When I woke up this morning, I realized it’s NaNoWriMo, and I haven’t written a single word in almost a week. But that’s okay, because I’m not doing NaNoWriMo.

Oh, I thought about it. For once, I didn’t forget about NaNoWriMo until after it had started. In large part because I pencilled it in as soon as I bought a daily calendar this year — along with a reminder in October that the thirty-day countdown to NaNoWriMo had begun.

I was also on track to finish the prep work for the first half of my novel by November 1st, and with more than 60 scenes it was sure to net me over 50,000 words by month’s end. Assuming I could sustain a 2,000-word-a-day pace for 30 days. I was pretty confident I could.

So why no NaNoWriMo for me? A couple of reasons, but mostly because I had other projects on my schedule. Projects that had non-negotiable deadlines. Projects that other people were counting on.

Projects that had to get done.

I liked the idea of being held publicly accountable for getting work done, though, so I decided to participate in the Write-Brained Network’s November WordWatchers instead. It differs from NaNoWriMo in that:

  1. You aren’t limited to a single project.
  2. Things other than novels qualify.
  3. You set your own weekly word count goal.
  4. You don’t have to wait until the first of the month to start on the project. You start counting the words for each week on the first day of the week, so even if you’ve already been working on the project, that’s okay.

I’ve got three major events this month that will eat up nearly half my writing time. I needed a goal that would push me to work but that wasn’t unrealistic considering the rest of my schedule. So I went with 4,000 words a week.

After a disappointingly slow start — including one day where I wrote 663 words, then immediately scrapped them — I wrote 8,907 words the first week.

Two days into the second week, I’d finished another 6,601. So in nine days’ time, I wrote 15,508 words — that I kept. Doing a little back-of-the-menu math, if I’d maintained that pace I would have written 50,000 words by November 29th. But the WIP was finished on November 9th, so I didn’t need to keep writing. I needed to start editing. So I did.

In the end, I realized that although I didn’t do NaNoWriMo this year, I could have, and I would have made the 50,000 word goal. More importantly, I finished a project that I had to get done. And that’s good enough for me.

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2 Responses to Why I’m Not Doing NaNoWriMo, and Why That’s Okay

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  2. Gina says:

    I’m glad you posted this because I decided not to do nanowrimo this year either. I have too much else going on that’s demanding my attention and it just isn’t feasible. Maybe next year but I’m not holding myself to that idea either.