Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Young Writer's Struggle With NaNoWriMo

It begins with a thing called NaNoWriMo, a which is the funky short form for National Novel Writing Month, a huge event that happens in November where a bunch of crazy people prepare to write a 50,000 word novel in a month.

At first, I shrugged it off, and I felt satisfied when I read blog posts that slammed NaNo. I would gobble up every blog post where someone justified their reasons for not doing NaNo, or said it wasn't for them. Basically, I just agreed with all the people who didn't do NaNo. NaNo wasn't my thing; I wouldn't do it; I could write without going crazy doing 50k in a month.

But really, I was just giving myself excuse upon excuse, because NaNo scared me. 50k in a month? No way. I can't do that. Too much commitment. Finally, I admitted to myself that I just didn't want to commit myself to writing that much.

However, I've come to the realization that I can no longer just write when I feel like it, or when it's fun for me. If I'm going to write, I have to make an effort, or I'll end up never writing at all. 

In November 2012, I did my own version of NaNo - 30,000 words in a month. I did it! It was all right. And making a commitment to write a certain number of words in a limited amount of time seemed a little less scary.

Then In June 2014, Elle contacted me and asked if I wanted to be a member of her cabin for Camp NaNoWriMo. I had one of my goals for the summer as finishing my rewrite of my current WiP, but I was still hesitant. Could I do it? Maybe. It was a big commitment. What the heck, I thought, and said yes.

I'm so glad I said yes! Camp NaNoWriMo is different because you can make your own goal. I made my goal 30,000 words and I did it! I won. Now my WiP is up to 40,000 words and I only have maybe 30,000 words left until the end. The best thing about doing Camp NaNo for me was having the support of my cabin mates. You could go on to the message boards and see if anyone was around, discuss word count, and sprint if you wanted. It was great having that accountability, and the feeling that other people were counting on me to reach my goal. 

Sprinting was also a new thing for me. It's basically where you pick a time - say 15 minutes - and do nothing but write as many words as possible. When you're sprinting with other people, it adds a competitiveness, so you want to ignore all your other websites and other distractions.

Now I'm committed to finishing my WiP, and maybe I'll even be around in November to do a 50k. (Even if still terrifies me). Thanks to Elle and the rest of my cabin mates for encouraging me!


  1. I've always been in the same boat as you: 50K is waaaaaay too much commitment! Plus, I've always had exams during November, which means my writing usually grinds to a halt. I should try my own NaNo one day... I'll call it MaNoWriMo.

    Congratulations on winning Camp NaNo, and good luck for November!!

    1. Thanks! Still not sure if I want to NaNo in November. Usually it's a crazy month, with school and Christmas right around the corner. We'll see!

  2. I do love sprinting. I owe a lot of my current main project to the sprints forum...and although I did not get to 50k because of a pesky thing called college, I reached 50k the first week of December. :)

    Are you November-ing it again this year?

    1. Not sure yet! I might try, although I might just stick to my 30k goals instead since that's seemed to work for me, even just to keep up momentum. Also November is a crazy busy month. Another nice thing about Camp NaNo is that it's in June and July, which is less crazy busy, at least for me.


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