The Top Five Reasons for Not Doing NaNoWriMo This November

This week, we are excited to have Chris Baty guest posting on the blog. Chris is the founder of National Novel Writing Month, and author of several Chronicle Books. Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? If so, why? If not, what’s holding you back? Share your reasons in the comments for a chance to win a copy of Ready, Set, Novel and a “Write Together” poster by illustrator Linda Eliasen, pictured below. We’ll pick a winner at random on October 15th. Open to US residents only. Plus, save 75% on the No Plot, No Problem e-book this month only! Click here for more info.

National Novel Writing Month (better known as NaNoWriMo) is fast approaching! Over 400,000 kids, teens, and adults will be taking part in the book-writing adventure this November.

I founded the event in 1999. In addition to writing the No Plot? No Problem! book and kit and co-authoring the Ready, Set, Novel workbook, I’ve spent the last fifteen years personally trying to recruit everyone I know into giving it a shot. Through my NaNoWriMo proselytizing, I’ve heard a lot of very sensible reasons why people who love the idea can’t take part themselves.

Just in case you (or someone you love) might be thinking of sitting out the fun this November, I’ve put together the Top Five Reasons For Not Doing NaNoWriMo here, along with my highly unbiased responses to those concerns.

1) “I’m too busy.”

This is good. You want to be busy when you write the first draft of a novel. Having a limited amount of time helps you be less critical of your prose, which in turn helps you get more writing done and have a better time doing it. Also, when you’re slammed, your novel becomes a refuge from the chaos of the rest of your life—a secret world you get to escape to at the end of a long day.

2) “I’m not a writer.”

You don’t need to be a writer to have a life-changing, joy-filled month bashing out a book. (For what it’s worth, many of the people who’ve found success with their NaNoWriMo novels didn’t see themselves as writers when they started their books either.) Also, even if you just do it once and decide you never want to do it again, writing your own novel will deepen your understanding and appreciation of the books you read in unexpected ways.

3) “I’ve done NaNoWriMo before. Do I really need another unfinished manuscript on my hard drive?”

Yes. And here’s why: This may be the year you write The One. The genius story that’s light-years better than anything you’ve written before. In my own writing life, these leaps happened completely randomly—on Novel Six and Novel Thirteen. If I ever finish obsessively revising either of them, these will be the novels I publish. And I never would have met them if I stopped writing new books after the fourth or fifth one.

4) “No one can write a good book in 30 days.”

This is sadly true. The most you can really hope for after a month of writing is a wildly imperfect draft. But you know what? Most of the books we love also started out as pale imitations of themselves. Novels just take a few drafts to find their footing. And you can revise a bad first draft into a wonderful book, but you can’t revise a blank page into anything but a blank page.

5) “I don’t have any ideas.”

I go into most of my novels scared I’m going to run out of material by the second paragraph. But then I think back to that time when we were kids, when all we needed was a crayon or some markers to unlock the universe of people, beasts, battles, and adventures hidden inside a blank piece of paper. That fearless inventiveness is still within us; your imagination has a dozen great, crazy novel ideas it would love to explore with you next month. Just show up at that blank page on November 1. Your imagination will take it from there.

Subscribe to our monthly Pop Culture Newsletter.



  • Katharine October 8, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    All my life I've wanted to write a book, but never seemed to get past single notebook pages of ideas that weren't good enough for my impossibly high self-set standards. When I suffered a traumatic head injury two years ago and found myself unable to read, let alone write, the novel writing dream floated farther away then ever. After a few months spent in a daze of pity, I found a small fire in my belly still remained and vowed not to wallow but fight to regain my brain. The months since have been spent in rehab and speech therapy, starting from square one- pulling out my collection of children's books, moving up to teen lit and eventually finding my way back to the written word. Through some impossibly hard work and a miracle or two I now find the dream within reach again, but still hesitate to begin, trapped in a fear that I won't succeed. You can't fail if you don't try, right? But this post has gotten those rusty wheels turning in my head again, thinking it might finally be the time to bite the bullet and see what I can do. Finally beginning this book may be the most terrifying of all things yet, but I can't succeed if I never try either! So I'll be following along during the month, and can't wait to have more holes poked in some of my best can't do it arguments. I can't thank you enough, keep it up! And if anything, I feel pretty great that I was able to just write this comment 🙂


    • Brandon October 11, 2013 at 11:28 am

      Writing is indeed a very intense adventure. However, if you don't try, if you don't fail, there is no possible way to succeed. I promise to you that, once you write a whole novel (even if it isn't the best), you will feel like an invincible beast has just broken free, able to do anything you want. You can do it! I believe in you.


    • Kari October 12, 2013 at 3:22 am

      Your post is so well written, it's almost hard to believe you were struggling to read just two years ago. You seem ready now. Believe you can do it and you will.

      Perfectionism has always been my problem too and I found it particularly difficult to let myself write a mediocre first draft. I recently found out about speech-to-text software and it has made a world of difference for me. I can dictate 2000 words in one hour now, whereas before I struggled to type more than 300 words in the same amount of time.

      I'm a very quick typist, so that wasn't the problem. It was that I could see what I had just written on the screen. As soon as I'd finished writing my first ideas for a scene and needed to come up with more, I would unconsciously procrastinate when they didn't come easily by rereading and editing my previous few paragraphs. Even when I realized what I was doing I couldn't force myself to stop. The next burst of inspiration would never come and I would end up reworking the life out of what I'd just written until I gave up on writing for the day.

      Now I spend that same hour with a dictaphone, away from my computer, and when I'm finished, I transfer the audio file to my computer and watch as the software types it up for me. It's not 100% perfect, so I have to spend another half hour or so fixing the software's errors, but I also use some of that time to make revisions. I find that I'm much easier on myself when I have three or four pages of text to edit vs. the two or three paragraphs I had before.

      I'm using Dragon Naturally Speaking software because it's generally considered the best, and I bought the professional version online. But later, when I bought my dictaphone, I found out that many models come with a special version of Dragon for free, which would save you a considerable amount of money if you took this route.

      Dictation may not be the system that saves the day for you like it has for me, but the lesson is that if your previous habits aren't functioning for you when you sit down in November, don't give up. Find another way to do it. It may be as simple as writing in a different location or at a different time of day. With all the technology out there today there's a way that's right for you. Find it.


    • Kelly Crabbé October 12, 2013 at 8:25 am

      Well, your sentences and chapters don't have to be sensible. In your case, it's massive therapy too – you can even include it in your rehab 🙂 And based on your post here, you'll do well. Yes, writing 50k words might be hard – I've tried often and failed often too – but try it anyway. Even if you get to 30k, look from where you've come. What you write, is YOUR accomplishment and yours alone.


    • Asha October 12, 2013 at 8:50 am

      I think you'll do great! Just from how you describe your love of reading and your mission to get back to it, I know it's possible for you to do NaNoWriMo. Don't worry if your first draft is good. Seriously, don't. The best rough draft I ever wrote was the one that I thought I'd never, ever publish (I still haven't but that's because I wrote it in April. I'm planning to…) Just write. Try your best, and you will succeed! Go Katherine!


    • agent384 October 14, 2013 at 12:53 am

      Good for you Katharine! You're taking the first big step by posting this. Send that internal editor away on vacation and put your words on paper. Don't worry about failure, don't worry about typos and minor mistakes (that will be fixed at revision stage), just push through the pages every day. You can do it!


    • Anne October 21, 2013 at 8:02 am

      You know, I kind of want to see you write a childrens book. There are those few books that I loved when I was a kid, and still pull out and retread now fifteen years later. Bringing exiting and imaginative concepts to young children in a form they can read is so difficult, who wants to learn to read better when the most interesting thing that happens is that Dick and Jane run? It seems like your recent experiences would allow you to do that well, not to mention get you back into the wonderful world of story writing. I hope you aren't insulted by the suggestion; I think it takes a lot of talent to convey exiting concepts in a simple and direct form. I think I can speak for NaNoWriMo in saying that we're incredibly exited to welcome you back to the writing word. The world needs your novel!


    • kathy October 29, 2013 at 12:50 pm

      Your courage to write after all you've been through gives me courage to do so – and I have no good excuses not to… just the usual… that were so well described by Chris Baty above. i'm in. thanks for your words.


  • Nicole October 8, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    After about 4 years of making these exact same excuses, I'm going to go for it this year. Thanks for the reminder, Chronicle!


  • Janel October 8, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    I'm still trying to decide if I want to do NaNo. The thing is, if I do participate I would have to declare myself a rebel since I would be writing several short stories and a novella to reach my 50,000 words. Prep time is running out, I had better decide soon!


    • Kelly Crabbé October 12, 2013 at 8:28 am

      Actually, it's easy to do multiple short stories. Here's how I do it then :
      I have a main character be a story writer or story teller; my short stories are hers/his and he/she is writing them 😛 (And the main story of the teller/writer — is pure wordpadding!)


    • WitTea October 13, 2013 at 11:22 am

      Actually one of the 'rules' of nano is either only researching your novel for 1 week or just writing as you go, no planning needed. The 1 week idea helps so you have enough research to go on but not so much it kills all the joys of figuring out things as you go. So don't let prep be common excuse #6, just have fun!


      • Janel October 15, 2013 at 6:24 pm

        I have to say, I can't imagine pantsing a 50,000 word story! The idea makes me twitchy. 🙂 I am in awe of people who can do that and win NaNo.


  • zoe October 8, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    Nanowrimo changed my life…when I first signed up for Nano, and in the years that followed, that blank page was like a doorway to a happy place during the difficult times of my life. It was an opportunity to examine and deal with sadness, heartbreak, grief… Even after I've left those hard times behind, it's still a happy month spent with myself and all those crazy, wonderful stories inside of me. It's also how I met my best friend in the world. I don't know what I'd do without her! And, I don't know what I would have done without Nanowrimo. Even if I never publish any of these novels (I have about 11), these stories are part of me and I love every single one and I have the satisfaction of knowing I've spent time with those parts of myself and gave them a voice.


  • newsongweekly October 8, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    I believe that NaNoWriMo first bleeped onto my radar two years ago… I think it was already in progress, if I'm remembering correctly, and I didn't quite get it, but felt like I'd been robbed of something by not knowing about it sooner. Last year I was ready enough to sign up and imagine that I was going to do it. Then… I don't know what happened. But I didn't do it. This year I am ALL IN. I had a great idea in July that I have been SAVING for NaNoWriMo. I've been making notes and creating inspirational playlists and getting psyched… Can it be November already! 🙂


  • Emily October 8, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    This will be my first year doing NaNo and I'm terribly excited and more than a little bit nervous. "Have no fear of perfection – you'll never reach it," Salvador Dali said and I might have to tape that up by my desk this November.


  • Sarah Negovetich October 8, 2013 at 10:25 pm

    I've signed up again. I've never won during an actual NaNo month, but I've done 50k/30days at other times during the year. This year I will do it in November. Prep is under way and I am serious about a win.


  • PalsyWriter October 8, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    Actually Janel, writing multiple short stories doesn't inherently make you a Rebel. As long as the stories have some sort of intertwining thread, then they fit the traditional NaNo definition of "a lengthy work of fiction." Just throwing that out there. 🙂


  • Lindsay carlson October 9, 2013 at 7:42 am

    Im doing nano because i love the group atmosphere-everyone is cheering each other on to the finish line & we all help each other with writer’s blocks and plot twists. It’s amazing and fun every year, plus i find out about writing software, apps, books, local writing/critique groups, and tools i never would have known about!


  • rinib October 9, 2013 at 11:00 am

    I'm doing nano because I have this urge to write, and it is easier to do with a whole group of people who are helping and cheering each other on. It helps that we have a great nano group that meets year-round 🙂


  • Artisticinva October 9, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    I love NaNo and use it to get the first draft done of the novel I'll begin editing the following January. This year with be my sixth NaNo. I host a community write-in on the first Sunday of November; and we're marking our fifth year of getting together at a local library for that big event. The first year I tried NaNo (2008), I had an epic failure. I couldn't get past the "keep going even if it's terrible" stage. I started over on that project three times before Nov. 15 rolled around. The next year, I embraced the "just get it done" mindset. Revising and fixing and filling in the holes and gaps would and could come after I crossed the finish line. And I did! NaNo lets me get the bones down; it enables me to have something to work with when it's time to revise and rewrite.


  • lisa October 10, 2013 at 9:57 am

    I am an occasional writer with many unfinished pieces. It is time to finish the work and perhaps even string them together to form a novel (or at least a short story collection). Thanks for the motivation to get back to work!


  • Nekko October 11, 2013 at 10:44 am

    In early summer I finished the second draft of my first book. It sits on the corner of my desk now stewing. It has several major flaws that need re-working, and I found myself in the dumps, unable to come up with an idea for even a fun short story. Then in September I wandered over to the Nano home page. I started reading about the YWP, and BAM! An idea started brewing in my head. Now I can't wait for November to finally get here! This will be my first Nano; I'm excited and a wee bit daunted by the challenge ahead!


  • Jennafer October 11, 2013 at 11:17 am

    I joke frequently that every English teacher has a book in them somewhere. I am no exception. Every time I step into a library or book store I hear it calling to me. It wants to be written, published and printed. My novel longs to be nestled among the covers of other great (and lets face it mediocre) works. NaNoWriMo is my excuse to give into that calling. To dive head first into the act of creation and never look back. So if you have ever been truly moved by literature, or had the impression you could have done this better, join us for a month of "literary abandon!"


  • Heather Hill October 11, 2013 at 11:46 am

    I personally think this is a wonderful idea. I watched progress through Twitter last year while I was already working on my first novel. This year that novel is in submissions – a time many writers know can be very tough. I don’t want to waste time during the wait & inevitable rejections letting doubt seep in.. so NaNo couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m dying to get cracking, it will save my sanity! Thanks for creating such a great and encouraging event. You are right, it is a fantastic thing to just sit down and spill out your story. Don’t stop to read or edit – just go! Every book that reaches the shelves has gone through lots of rewrites. I recommend everyone get a copy of On Writing by Stephen King. It saved me from a sea of doubt last year and now I have a completed book and an agent. Just do it!


  • Jacob October 11, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    For more than 20 years I have known that I want to write for a living, but there is always something holding me back. Some big reason why I should wait, or not devote time to my dream. I have slowly learned that there will always be a reason there for why I shouldn't take the plunge and I am no longer going to listen to those good reasons. I have stories in me that must come out and I believe I am good at putting them on paper. this November I plan to start writing with a sale in mind and I am using NaNo as my coming out. This book will end up on the published NaNo list, or I will die trying…


  • lemonballoons October 11, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    I've been doing Nano since 2010, when a friend called me up on October 20th and told me to go to some site called "nanowrimo" and sign up. By now it's an ingrained part of my year and November wouldn't be the same without it. However, I'm still a high school student and I'm a little nervous about how it's going to go this year with my insane homework load.

    I do Nano because I crave the surge of creativity that comes zooming down my fingers every November. I do Nano because I love figuring out how to write in every available moment. I do Nano because there's nothing better than seeing the plot and characters you've been tossing around for weeks come to life on your screen. I do Nano because the rush of reaching 50,000 is like nothing else.


  • Sara Harricharan October 11, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    This is my 8th year doing NaNo. I am addicted to writing. I love crafting worlds, characters and making more space in my head for another fantastic storyworld to sprout and grow. NaNoWrimo helped me to see that I could work on larger projects than just short stories and that writing can really be fun and stress-less. I now look forward to it every year and see it as a chance to destress and just put on my creative-thinking cap. NaNo is now a very necessary writing tool for me and I learn something new from it every single year. Three cheers to Chris Baty for starting an amazing writing revolution.


  • Sarah October 11, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    I’ll be doing NaNoWriMo this year, after doing the camp over the summer. I don’t really have a reason for writing most of the time, and that’s the problem. NaNoWriMo is a ridiculous task, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself over the summer. November promises to be even more crazy-busy, but the way I figure, why not give it a shot?


  • JSCollins October 11, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    This my first year. I'm excited and scared at the same time! I've never had a writing buddy but if I can find the right one I think it will be a great help.


  • Laura Lynn Berlin October 11, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    I learned about NaNoWriMo last year, right before the event. I had a great idea (which really is great) but I just couldn't wrap my head around it and ended up changing to another great idea (which is really great too) but I didn't get very far. I think it had something to do with three part time jobs, being a full time college student, and a single mom to two girls all at the same time. This year I have one full time job, I'm not taking classes, and my oldest daughter has grown up, graduated from high school, and moved out so I only have one kid to worry about. I have even more great ideas, so now I know this year will be a huge success!


  • Kendra October 11, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    I'm doing NaNoWriMo this year for the first time because I have these memories that need to get down on paper before I forget them. Yeah, it's nonfiction and that's technically not what NaNoWriMo is for but I know I won't be able to focus on anything else before this is written. And, hey, I have next year and every year after that. I love the concept and the motivation of knowing that there are thousands of other people doing the same exact thing as me. I've never been so excited for November in my life!


  • Holly Squires October 11, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    This is my first year. I have always wanted to write a book but never knew where to start or if I had a good enough story to tell. When I heard about NAMOWRIMO I was sooooo excited I just knew in my heart of hearts this is where I will begin and this will help lead me to my dream if writing!! I can’t wait and look forward to participating every year! Thank you for doing this! What a great way to help writers and would be writers like myself get going and just do it!!


  • Jori Church October 11, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    My therapist says writing 50,000 words in a single month will take a ridiculous, prohibitive amount of time and energy.

    I think I will write them just to spite him.


  • Sammy October 11, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    I’ve done it before but never finished. I’m hoping to do it and finish this year but I just had a baby on September 16th so we’ll see how it goes!


  • Mark October 12, 2013 at 4:52 am

    I am so close to being ready to start that I might as well take a stab at it. For the first time, I've got a collection of ideas, a handful of characters and the skeleton of a plot that I actually get excited about imagining into a full story.


  • Emily Hutson October 12, 2013 at 7:39 am

    This isn't my first year of doing Nanowrimo, and I certainly hope that it isn't my last. I remember the first year of me doing it though. Probably one of the best experiences of my life. I was a freshmen in high school and that was the first time I had actually sat down and tried to write a full length novel. There were times where I felt like I should just give up. That nothing would come of it even if I did finish the damn thing. But I eventually did it. And it is still one of my proudest accomplishments to this day. And hopefully I will have the same enthusiasm and drive that I did back then and create something that I can be proud of.


  • Karen van Asch October 12, 2013 at 8:40 am

    Reason #4
    No one can write a good book in 30 days.
    This was my excuse and Chris Baty crunched it, waded it up and threw it into the fireplace.

    I will be doing NaNoWriMo this month.


  • Richard Stewart October 12, 2013 at 8:46 am

    I've participated twice, won once. I'm participating again this year simply because I want to become a better writer. The good thing about NaNoWriMo is that you know you are coming out of it with a draft that won't be final, so the occasional ridiculous plot twist is expected and fun to write. I'll pick an area of writing to focus on, such as setting, and then work on that, 1000 words at a time, whenever I get stuck.


  • Paul Alan Fahey October 12, 2013 at 8:55 am

    I'm still on the fence and don't have any of the top five excuses. I write an LGBT series (gay historical romance) and am looking for a way to write something different, yet LGBT related. I think NaNo just might be the vehicle for doing it. Into the breach I go.


  • Kim October 12, 2013 at 9:44 am

    I have several reason why I cannot join NaNoWrimo this year. Yes I am busy–with two young boys time is a luxury. I struggle with writing and diction–writing this comment was a chore. With these two reasons at the top of my long "pity me" list, I've decided to join NaNo; because I am tired of wanting, dreaming, and talking about my novel. I plan on finishing it this November. I am ready to WRITE!


  • AleneM October 12, 2013 at 10:46 am

    This year will be my first attempt at NaNoWriMo. I can't wait. I have been struggling with a particular story for over ten years – and just last month, I finally figured out the framework in which to tell it. It will be a month of escapism, I hope.


  • Traveller Blues October 12, 2013 at 11:26 am

    This'll be my eleventh year running doing the NaNoWriMo, and I've never lost yet. Started back in 2003 without an idea and never looked back. It's a habit I love sharing with other people; writing is infectious, and a way to relate to the inner author, scriptwriter, and dreamer in all of us. We learn to ask 'what if?' at an early age. We answer the question with our choices, but ultimately lack true control because the world has limits.

    For me, novel writing is being in control of 'what happens next?' And the worlds I write have no limits. Except the plot twists I throw at my protagonists.

    Headed full steam into year 11. I can't wait.


  • Christine October 12, 2013 at 11:54 am

    November will be my third NaNo (and hopefully my second win!). I love writing, and with two little kids, it is SO HARD to find the time to sit and write. NaNo gives me the excuse I need to make the time. I have such a supportive family, and I'm always sad to see the month end!


  • Suzy October 12, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    I used to love to write creatively as a child. Loved journaling as an adult. And most recently tried blogging. But I tend to not complete most things I start. I’ll be trying NaNoWriMo this year on the suggestion of a friend. If I complete it, it will give me a great feeling of accomplishment. And very possibly destroy the fear that has held me back for so many years.


  • Alexis October 12, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    I'm addicted to NaNo and can't wait til November 1st to see what story will dance onto the screen. My perfectionist goes on a month long cruise to leave me free to write and write. I always have at least a whisper of an idea as I sit down at the computer day one. It always takes me some place totally unplanned, unexpected and delicious. I highly recommend finding a buddy either in your own life or on the NaNo site. It's so much fun to encourage and be encouraged. When I write myself into a corner – always happens at least once – I jump over to a new thread in the story knowing eventually I will either figure out the answer to the problem or edit the stuck part out. I've learned not to fuss about a "perfect" beginning. It's a lot easier to dump it, if it needs dumping, if I haven't fallen in love with my polished words that no longer work. Jump on board for a really great ride!


  • Tess October 12, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    This is my second NaNo and I'm doing it with my friend who is 3.5 hours away in another country. We'll motivate one another. This is going to be EPIC.


  • Tammy Barker October 12, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    I am doing Nanowrimo again. For the sixth time. Each year I write a different book for my unpublished series. This year I am doing something totally different, a game on the android phone that goes horribly wrong. It will never see another set of eyes, since I am creating fiction but using real peoples names.
    Why do I try every year? To see if I can do it of course! That is my goal in life, to see if I have the nerve to do something. I have accomplished many things by using this philosophy.


  • Kris Krukowski October 12, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    I first tried NaNoWriMo in 2011; didn't make the target. Tried again in '12- got a little further, but not to 50k words. This year, I'm hoping the third time's the charm. 🙂


  • Jamila Titansgrizztigers Lindsey October 12, 2013 at 11:20 pm

    I'll be doing NaNo for the first time this year. I love to write; I have several stories in the works as I type! But, I just have this feeling that NaNo is going to get me inspired to write more, to work on those ideas that keep swimming in my head. Who knows; while it says that it's impossible to write a good novel in a month, because of the genre I'm working on, I may beat those odds… or at least have a lot of inspiration trying! LOL


  • Chrys Jordan October 13, 2013 at 6:40 am

    I wrote a novel of 62 thousand words in eight days. And I know I can do it again.

    I have had two complete books so far by using NaNoWrimo.


  • Morro October 13, 2013 at 9:38 am

    I'm terrified. My first year. And I am afraid that I won't write ANYTHING. That I will just look at my computer at the end of the day and think, "I am too tired to write anything," and lie down sleepily and not sleep for four hours because I am too busy thinking about what I should be writing down (i.e. what I do now). That I will spend another day and another and another until I have filled a whole November with days of disjointed thoughts and characters spinning around in my head, never to get onto the page. Just terrified. But, I signed up anyway. So I'm going to try. And maybe I will actually write something.


  • @thisgirlclimbs October 13, 2013 at 9:41 am

    I have written two books. I signed up to encourage my students to write. They are all underperforming middle schoolers. I also signed up because last June we lost a 6th grader, Jumai, to a drowning. Jumai never got a chance to tell his story. Maybe we can.


  • Fatstagnation October 13, 2013 at 10:26 am

    I'll be doing NaNo for the second time this year, and I can't wait. I debating if I should sort-of rebel and write a book I've already started from a different POV, or if I should hurry up and come up with a new idea. 😛


  • Shanna October 13, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    I've been participating in NaNoWriMo every year starting in 2005 when one of my friends introduced it to me our senior year of high school. I didn't win that first year, or sophomore, junior or senior years of college, but I won my freshman year and all three NaNos since graduation. Sure, one of them was fanfiction, one didn't want to be a novel and the first is just a mess I don't know what to do with. But last year's novel was different. It's inspired me enough to start cleaning it up.

    I'm participating in NaNo again this year because last year's novel wants to spawn a sequel, and I'm not about to tell it otherwise. (though to be fair I'd find another story to write if I didn't have this idea)


  • Janice Seagraves October 13, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    This will be my seventh years of doing the Nanowrimo. I just published my second book that I wrote during the nano contest. I use the nano as a way to get my books written and an incentive to finish them.



  • Splicer October 14, 2013 at 3:00 am

    I've done NaNo a few years but never again. No offense to those who enjoy the camaraderie of the process but I have met one too many obnoxious overachiever during each of those months. Yes, I know that you can do it with your eyes closed. Yes, I know that in the time it took me to write my first sentence, you've written five complete novels. Yes, I love receiving wordcount updates from you every ten minutes. Now, please, STFU.


  • laviniawarren October 14, 2013 at 5:55 am

    I've written a book and had it published and I still need this.


  • ElaineG October 14, 2013 at 8:34 am

    I particularly like reasons #3 and #4. This will also be my 8th time doing NaNo and I do it because I like creating stories, inventing things I hadn't thought about a second earlier, and feeling energized and happy. One of my novels made it into (self) publication even though it wasn't perfectly edited. Each year I celebrate the end of the "one day" novelist (as in, "One day I'll write a novel") and the existence of National Novel Writing Month.


  • Ivy October 14, 2013 at 9:37 am

    Oh boy, am I doing NaNo this year, and I'm going to WIN. Why? Because I was shown up by my 13-year-old brother last year, who did the YWP and sailed through, beating my word count even though his goal was so much smaller than mine!! I'm eight years older and I will NOT let him beat me again.


  • Kim October 14, 2013 at 9:57 am

    I do NaNo because I love the community. Yeah, I love challenging myself and my writing (and I'm currently playing with the idea of polishing up my 2011 novel, and maybe trying to submit it for publication), but the main reason I do it is the people. I love the Wrimos, I love how they're always there for each other, I love how they completely understand each other while at their most incomprehensible.

    But having those finished manuscripts on my hard drive doesn't hurt matters either.


  • Peter October 14, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    This will be my third year of nannowing and, I hope, winning! I usually end up doing most of my writing during the last week of the month, but I'm going to strive to spread it out a bit more evenly this year.


  • Sushi October 14, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    I'm sad the lobster claws for arms excuse didn't make it. Dictation software is getting better these days, so even that isn't an excuse unless you're a mute lobster.


  • Miriam October 14, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    Those are all fabulous excuses! I’m writing this year because I forced my students to participate last year. I half-assed it and didn’t get very far, but was totally impressed when some of my 7th graders won. I want to do what I told them to do – ignore the inner critic, trust in your imagination, and just write. I’ve had tons of ideas bounce around my mind over the years, and I’m excited to finally get them out.


  • Kinkatia October 14, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    I’m doing NaNo this year because I need to get this story out of my head. I dreamed it a few weeks ago and it’s hauntingly beautiful. I only hope I can do it justice.

    I’ve done NaNo for six years previously, for the sheer joy of writing, for the sake of community, to keep myself sane during college, etc., but this time it’s for the sake of the story itself.


  • Michele Cacano October 14, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    What’s holding me back this year? I’m still struggling with synopsis and editing on 2011’s NaNo novel! I’m working on querying agents and editors (after a successful round of pitching at a summer conference) and want to have this one further along before starting a new one. In 2012, I did NaNo between drafts of the 2011 one. Didnt quite finish (or like) 2012’s output. Five previous attempts at NaNo helped me immensely as a writer, but did not get completed.


  • leokirke October 15, 2013 at 2:14 am

    I think I might just do NaNoWriMo this year precisely because I want to tap into that "in the moment" inventiveness mentioned in reason 5. It's so easy to forget it's there, but it's such a powerful mental resource. Grab the crayons, kids.


  • Candice October 15, 2013 at 6:32 am

    I will do NaNo this year for the same reason I did it the last eight: it’s the one month a year that I can unabashedly focus on writing at the expense of all other adult things except the day job. Plus, I get to do so with a community of amazing like-minded people, some of whom are now my best friends and some of whom I only know online.

    Thanks, Chris, for giving us all this opportunity!


  • igeekmama October 15, 2013 at 7:53 am

    I'm all in baby…all in. I am a two time winner, four time participant. I like 50/50 odds. Plus, I have agent interest in a 75K word novel that I wrote during NaNoWriMo in 2009. Suck it up Buttercups. You got this!


  • Lucy October 16, 2013 at 4:00 am

    I thought that I wouldn't do NaNo this year, I didn't succeed with it last year and every camp since I failed. Then I received the email from the future from the nano team and it was so creative that it made me want to do it this year despite having little time. Then reading this and some of the comments I realise that I have always been a story teller, but only in my head.
    I would long to write stories for english but never thought about writing outside of school. Then I found wattpad and nano and I'm not going to give up. I will succeed because I am a writer. Thank you NaNoWriMo for helping me to realise my dreams x


  • Lydia Sanders October 16, 2013 at 10:27 am

    I am doing Nanowrimo for the 5th time this year because one Nanowrimo book I wrote has evolved into a trilogy in my mind–at least! I love writing, but Nanowrimo provides me with the pressure I need to just sit down and do it. Otherwise, I would spend all of my time getting distracted by anything–even books on writing craft!


  • Ashley E October 29, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    I've done NaNo in previous years, though not recently, and never got to 50,000. I had a ton of fun anyway though, and I'm going to do it again this year! Who knows? It might be the year I actually get there… Probably not though. 😀


  • Chris Kalika Blissett October 31, 2013 at 10:51 am

    I plan to lose myself on November 1st, along with any fear, reservation or any discouraging roadblocks I've built throughout the years. Only my imagination will remain accompanied by the skill of my fingers with which I hope to cast the spell for others that so many before have cast for me.


  • tick November 2, 2013 at 5:29 am

    If I had a month of free time to waste, I wouldn't waste it on this nonsense. If I have something to write, I write it. If I don't, I don't. Simple. NaNoWriMo is narcissistic bull-hockey of the highest order. Period. And the purple-prose dreck of the comments here supports my view one thousand percent. (I pity the sludge-pile editors who will have to wade through your "manuscripts" in December and beyond.) Have fun, fairy-dusters. Some of us have to work for a living.


Leave a Comment