Monday, September 24, 2012

Time to Jump on the NaNoWriMo Bandwagon?

One of my new school-year resolutions is to re-commit myself to a half-written MG novel. I absolutely love the idea, but after a few very rough partial drafts, I was so frustrated with plot and structuring challenges, I put the manuscript aside for a few weeks. That was a year ago.

So, can National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) help resuscitate my dream? With its exponential growth, some writers must think so. In 1999, NaNoWriMo started with 21 writers. Last year more than 250,000 participated. At least one NY Times bestseller, Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, is a result of this dedicated frenzy of writing.

The rules dictate that 50,000 words are written entirely from scratch. Can I really write more than 1500 words a day for 30 days, every day? I don’t know. I am not a quick word producer but I’m hoping NaNoWriMo will force me to write faster. Will faster be better though?  If not better, will it be valuable?

About fourteen percent of participants ‘win’ (reach the 50,000 word target). I’m not starting completely from ‘scratch.’ I do have the general outline of a plot and characters sketched out – is that cheating? Or useful planning? Either way, my goal is to progress my manuscript.

I’m wary of abandoning my previous work, but as Ernest Hemingway observed after losing several manuscripts, starting again might be the best thing that ever happens to it.

So, ever tried NaNoWriMo? How did it go? Would you recommend it? Anyone want to join me?


  1. As someone who only writes on the short side, the whole idea blows my mind to smithereens. I admire anyone who tackles this. And don't worry about the rules. If it suits you best to build on previous ideas, so be it.

    You can do this! I'm sure you can!

  2. Hi Julie-- Like Gale, I tend to write short. But I think it sounds like a great goal! Deadlines are always great for increasing productivity and this is an incredible deadline! Good luck!

  3. I've tried nano a few times, but never "won." That said, I had more than I started with, which is always a good thing.

    I don't know if I'll be ready to start something new come November, but if I am, I'll probably try again.

  4. While it would be nice to 'win' I think just giving it a shot will be good for my writing. Thanks everyone!