Posted by: kimberlysullivan | November 2, 2012

Best of luck to all you NaNoWriMo participants out there!

Most of you probably know or have heard of NaNoWriMo, but for those of you who don’t, it stands for National Novel Writing Month.

The NaNoWriMo challenge takes place 1-30 November each year and writers sign up to write a 50,000 word novel from scratch in one month. This year, 300,000 writers from around the globe are taking part in the challenge.

The great thing about NaNoWriMo is that it’s just about word count. Writers are not supposed to go back and polish their prose, or tear apart what they’ve done and start from scratch. The whole idea of the challenge is to plunge forward and be creative, without second-guessing yourself.

I tend to be a pretty quick writer, but I’m also a serial editor, constantly going back and fiddling with my work, so I find this idea of a creative outburst of writing very appealing. No editing, no fiddling, just piling up the words day by day until you reach your goal.

So, by month’s end will you have a perfect novel ready to send out in the world? Absolutely not! But you do have a good starting point and can then start editing and reworking your outburst of creativity.

I was tempted to join the writing madness this year, but I have too many projects begging me to complete them, and I simply couldn’t justify dedicating my time to something new right now.

So, here I am on the sidelines cheering on my fellow writers to the 50,000-word finish line. I am very impressed that you’re rising to the challenge and I wish you luck on your journey to 50K. I look forward to joining you next year!


  1. I think it’s a great idea if you lack discipline, but it’s not something I think I could do without losing my family love! Plus I really enjoy the process of writing, and try my best to write well the first time around – even though I also wrestle/edit for ages afterwards. I think some books can come out this way, but not all of them! Good luck to all – we have a writing appointment to organise this month anyway! Xcat

    • Yes, Catherine. I agree! My family would probably disown me… or I’d be even more bleary-eyed than I am giving up yet more sleep to write. Still, one of these years I’ll do it. : )

  2. Well, since you’ve read my first draft stuff, you probably guessed I could not handle NaNoWriMo. Leaving all that error-laden work and not going back to fix anything…it would be way too hard. I tend to write quickly anyway. That said, I’m amazed by the people who do this and finish. I’d probably end up with a 50K-word mess that I could never turn into a completed novel😉

  3. Ha! I agree with you, since I also go back and edit a lot while I’m writing…but I like that the idea of NaNoWriMo is to break one of that habit and just go with the creativity – typos and bad grammar, be damned! Anyway, it seems as if you produce pretty quickly even without NaNoWriMo, Chantel. When it ain’t broke… : )

  4. Thanks for the cheerleading, Kimberly! This is my 6th Nano and surprisingly my family are quite supportive – they’ve become used to me staying up late to write each November. Yes, some Nano novels are messy when you reach the 30th of November, but others are surprisingly high-quality first drafts – writing that fast without editing can work. I’m just not sure how! It’s also a great way to try out a story, or a new genre, without having to commit a lot of time to it.

    • Thanks, Grace! Also a good point about trying out a new genre. I should also point out to readers that Grace is quite an expert on Nano – both as an author and as a regional coordinator for Ireland. She’s promised to post updates on her site this month, so any of you interested in participating next year, may want to check in on her site and see what she’s saying about the process this year!

  5. Thanks for cheering us on, Kim! We appreciate it! Now next year we expect you to join us.🙂

    • Hey, Kim! Will look forward to updates on your progress this month. And yes, next year I’ll be joing you! I even start with an “advantage”. Did you know that 1 November is a national holiday in Italy? What better incentive to participate in NaNo! : )

      • I didn’t know that! Seeing as I am an Italophile, I shoul d have taken that day off!😀

  6. Enjoy your own projects. I am not joining nano either.

  7. Thanks, Julia! So it sounds like we’ll both observe the marathon madness this month from the sidelines. : )

  8. This is my third NaNoWriMo…I do go back and edit the day before’s work as a prep for writing the next day, but not much. It’s pretty much all unedited stuff. I post it to my blog for my family and friends to read. It’s horribly unpolished, but they’re family and friends and they think I’m wonderful. Even if it’s not, they would never tell me. So it’s a great way to motivate me to not only finish NaNo, but finish a story, because I know I have a group of readers out there waiting on the ending.

    Not editing it though, plot holes, awkward sentences are all cringe worthy stuff!

    Oh, well…

  9. […] creative in figuring out ways to meet deadlines. I’ve already posted about this month’s NaNoWriMo competition, where 300,000 novelists and would-be novelists push themselves to write 50,000 words […]

  10. […] wrote an earlier post about the 2012 NaNoWriMo challenge. Now, with the international month-long writing marathon just wrapping up, I thought it would be a […]

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