Why I don’t do NanoWriMo, despite it being a great idea.

Well November has come, and gone, taking with it the annual writing event of NanoWriMo. Every year someone encourages me to take part. Every year I think about, but always come to the same conclusion. It’s a wonderful idea, it seems to me to be rather like the motivation you used to get in school to do your projects. But it’s not for me, but the “Why?” of it’s not being for me has until this year eluded me.

Back when I started to write seriously I was very drawn to the idea of doing NanoWriMo. I never did it, usually because it was almost over by the time someone reminded me that it existed, but I was drawn to it. After all few things help a writer who’s taking their first literary steps more than a clearly stated goal, and the encouragement to achieve it.

After all let’s face it. Writing is not easy. It takes discipline, determination, dedication, and probably several other words beginning with “D” which elude me right at this moment. It’s a genuine, and wonderful skill that needs constant retraining, constant honing. All of which is quite difficult to do with only the voices in your own head for encouragement. That is of course where I see NanoWriMo being an absolute boon for novice writers.

The thing is for me, that time’s past. Been there, done that, not only got the t-shirt but wore it out, and had to ask for a replacement. By the time I actually remembered that it existed in time to make use of it, it’s utility to me was a thing of the past. I’ve written a novel, I already have an embarrassment of future projects gathering dust, waiting to be done. I already have a system of self-education that works very well for me. That’s the point really, I wouldn’t see it as fun. I would see it as a distraction from what I’m already up to my eyes in. And that’s why I don’t do it. I don’t need a reason to push myself to write, quite the opposite in fact.

I have to remind myself to enjoy the rest of life. I’ve installed a brand new PC game, one I’d been dying to play for a full year, only to realise an hour later that I’d been staring into space writing dialogue in my head. When you do things like that, the last thing you need is another reason to lose touch with regular reality.

But I have to say this. If you’re a novice writer, do it. It’s an opportunity to compress a lot of learning by experience into a single month, and that is not something to be sniffed at. It may in fact save you from my experience of learning by doing over three very long, frustration filled years.

2 Comments to “Why I don’t do NanoWriMo, despite it being a great idea.”

  1. The Nano is great for motivation purposes but it seems to be a rush. About quantity rather than quality. That’s usually why I don’t compete. I need to create quality work rather than rushing for a word count but it’s a great experience. The deadline push is what all writers need I believe, maybe not 50,000 words a month but definitely a deadline and motivation. ^^


    • A deadline, and the motivation to achieve it are amazing things to have when you really need a fire lit under you. But I have to agree I prefer to write to the utmost of my ability, and produce less, than rush like crazy and produce something I won’t be proud of.

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