NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month. You live for it or you dread it. Every year writers around the world need to decide whether or not to take the plunge. It’s a monstrous writing goal to tackle in one month.
Each year, as NaNoWriMo approaches, the Internet fills with articles about how to survive NaNo. How to prepare, and what resources are a must. These posts are great, and can really help writers who know they will benefit from the madness of writing a novel in a month. But for writers who are on the fence, all this can make them feel pressure to participate. Or maybe they feel like less of a writer if they are unsure about participating.
Very rarely do you get the other side, why you shouldn’t participate in NaNoWriMo. However, there are very valid reasons NOT to participate in NaNoWriMo. To those ready for the challenge, I wish you the best of luck. But to any writer whoermission not to participate in NaNoWriMo.
Why NOT to Participate in NaNoWriMo
If You Don’t Want To
If you have no desire to participate in NaNo, don’t do it. Set your own writing goal for the month or season. Whatever works for you. If you know writing 50 k words in one month isn’t going to be a good way to help you reach your writing goals, stick with what you know works for you.
I’ll add thought, this is not an excuse to let fear hold you back. There is a difference between knowing it’s not a useful writing style for you and not trying because you are scared. If it’s fear holding you back, but you know deep down you want to give it a try, check out this list of resources and make a plan to conquer NaNo (even if that just means giving it a try to see what will happen)!
If You Don’t Have Time
November is a busy month for many people without trying to add a massive writing project to the To Do List. With Christmas around the corner and Thanksgiving the same month, trying to write an entire novel, might not be the best idea. Maybe work is really busy, or you are studying for exams. It could be sick kids taking up more of your time. Whatever is happening in your life, if the idea of adding more to your list overwhelms you, NaNoWriMo might not be right for you at this time, or ever.
If You are Already Working on a Story
This year, my reason for not participating is that I’m still working on my NaNo win from last year. I was hopping to be farther along with revision so that I could participate again, but I’m just not where I want to be and I don’t want to start a new project when my mind is so invested in my current one.
If you are working on something and you want to keep working on it, there is no reason to put it aside and start something new. Keep working on your current project, and attempt NaNo when you are ready and able to start a new project.
Instead of NaNoWriMo
If the entire idea of NaNo is overwhelming, and writing a novel in a month isn’t going to work for you, the idea behind it can still apply. A new month is still a great time to make a new goal or a more challenging one. So, even if you don’t participate, consider uping your game a little bit and striving to accomplish a more rigorous goal. This might be writing 2,000 words instead of 50,000. Maybe it is revising a certain number of chapters, or finishing an outline. Take a look at where you are in your writing journey, and set a goal that will help you accomplish something.
There is also the option of participating in NaNo without the pressure or expectation to win. Just do your best. Understand that you won’t write the full 50,000, but see how close you get. Without participating, you might right 8,000 a month. But if you participate, maybe you’ll write 15,000 or 35,000. Anything you write is more than not writing.
Whether or not you end up participating in NaNoWriMo, best of luck with your writing journey and life.