Reminiscing · Writing

#amwriting Why I Don’t Nano Anymore

So I missed Writing Wednesday–oops! But I wanted to write this article because it’s very important to me as a writer, an artist, and general human being. I’ve been asked a lot why I am not doing NaNoWriMo anymore and while children is a part of the reason it is not wholly the reason. So here goes!

NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month takes place during November and encourages anyone and everyone to throw inhibitions to the wind and put words on paper. It has been embraced by writers of all kinds, ages, and backgrounds and in many ways is a brilliant program. Schools have adopted it as a way to get students excited about creative writing which is probably my favorite thing about this idea. It builds communities of writers where they didn’t exist before and gives people courage to try something new. These are all spectacular things about NanoWrimo!

However, like everything, there are downsides to this idea and viewpoint about writing which it has taken me some time to realize. For many, myself included when I participated, November became a month of pure anxiety to meet that 1667 words a day to meet the 50,000 word quota. I know there is a lot of wisdom out there about how any words are better than no words at all but for a selectively competitive perfectionist it was a nightmare on my mental health that I masked with a veneer of “this is fun”. Granted, there were parts that were fun–the year I met empresscats three times a week to Nano and we ultimately won!

But looking back these months were filled with anxiety that hurt work, personal relationships and ultimately didn’t result in work I was overly proud of as a whole piece. For a lot of people deadlines like these work beautifully for getting the work done. For me it’s mostly word salad with a few good plots and characters that I then never touch again. I just don’t work that way.

It is also the WORST timing for me personally. November is our month for finessing craft goods for Christmas sales. That leaves little room for–you know, laundry and eating food let alone writing. And really The Fall as a whole is just bad for me. All that to say, if it works for you–that is wonderful! If it doesn’t I’m happy to talk through your process to find what might work better! I know for me I am a long distance runner as opposed to sprinter when it comes to writing.

To all, happy writing and creating however that takes shape!

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