Why I Can Never Compete in NanoWrimo…

Okay, this is a personal confession, although I am an author I have never competed in NanoWrimo. For those of you who do not know what this is it is New Novel November Month. Pretty much you write an entire novel in one month. I know, as an author, I feel ashamed for admitting the fact that I’ve never competed or done this, but I want to explain the reason why this has been out of my particular reach. Since it is now December I feel as though this is the perfect post because, alas, I did not compete this past November 🙁

I’ll be the first to admit, it’s my writing process. Especially for new novels. I am not sure if this is unique to me or if lots of other authors do it, so I am interested in hearing other people’s viewpoints on this. For first drafts of novels I HAVE to write it out freehand first and then go back and type up everything. I don’t know what it is, but that is how it is done for me. When I finish with a whole notepad of chapters, I plop it down in front of me, turn on my Pandora music and then type them all up just listening to music. The whole process is actually very relaxing for me. But, with this process comes twice the amount of work, I know. Trust me I have tried writing it all on the computer first, but it’s hard. I think this happens for a few reasons:

  1. With writing online comes all the distractions of online too. Too easily do I find myself checking my Facebook, or if someone posted a new comment on my novel on Wattpad.
  2. Staring at that blank screen just doesn’t appeal to me. The cursor blinking me and mocking me for having no thoughts to jot down. Something I cannot handle.
  3. With a pen in my hand I feel more of an author, you know? I see the pad I need to write and thoughts just come to me. It allows me to organize my thoughts better and rearrange ideas if need be by simply circling the passage in question and drawing an arrow to where I need to place it.


On top of my crazy writing process, I feel as though I shouldn’t be starting a new novel. I am honestly floored when I hear other authors who are working on 3 – 4 books at once. For one, how do you have that much time? And Secondly, how do you have that many ideas? It’s craziness. For me as being a series writer and currently working on the second novel in my series of either 4 or 5 books, I just couldn’t imagine starting a new storyline when I still have one unfinished. I know I’ll need a new idea eventually and I actually do have another idea for a story once this one is done, but I just can’t start writing a new novel when I should be focused on what is here and right now.

Now, although I do not participate in New Novel November Month, it does not mean I do not write constantly. My original goal was to have the first draft of my second novel done by the end of November. However, I was lazier in October than I should have been so now I am pushing that to end of December. For the past couple weeks in November I have been consistently writing one chapter per day in my second novel and am less than 20 chapters from finishing it (I think anyways).

Personally, that is what writing is, persistence. I really do appreciate what NanoWrimo does in encouraging authors to start a story, but here is where I think the program goes wrong. By encouraging to someone to write a whole novel in a month you are pretty much telling them “do not have a social life” or have less of one. That is the quickest way to get burnt out and when you get burnt out at writing you are officially done. You won’t want to come back to the keyboard or pick up the pen again. That is why, in my opinion, slow and steady wins the race. I make it kind of a goal to get a chapter done per day, even in revisions. If you did that you would have a great polished novel done by the end of a year. (With taking breaks too.)

By simply writing a chapter per day, you ease your workload and still can have a social life which is very necessary for authors—we are people watchers after all. It’s like when parents tell their children they can’t play video games until they get their homework done. For me, I can’t go out with my friends until I get at least one chapter done, and as long as I do that I know that I will have another piece of work coming out in a decent amount of time.

What do other authors think about these things? Do you have a certain process you take while writing? What is it? Do you participate in NanoWrimo? Have you been successful in it?

All pretty interesting questions that I would love feedback on. Take care and keep writing!

2 thoughts on “Why I Can Never Compete in NanoWrimo…”

  1. Hey, it’s Wiiat, from Wattpad.

    I took a peek at your blog and I read your post about the delayed December launch. Though I wasn’t here for that, it’s understandably disappointing. You definitely deserve some support in writing your novels, 4 – 6 weeks waiting isn’t all that bad.

    For the writing competition, I agree with you. If I were to compete in NaNoWriMo I’d probably need to take a break at the end from the constant writing. And beforehand I’d need to plan out like a madman, outline a vague storyline and all of that. It’s still pretty crazy haha, I don’t think the novel actually has to be finished though. Just 50,000 words+. By the way… I think it’s abbreviated NaNoWriMo, standing for National Novel Writing Month. 😛

    Finally… that’s interesting, that you write it all out on paper before typing it up. I used to do this a lot, it seems a lot easier to find errors and what you want to change that way. (And it makes you feel like a real writer haha.) I don’t do this as much now. I like to write down my plot-line and various other notes I need to remember, but typing it as I go is how I generally do it.

    You’ve got a nice little blog.

    1. writersblockpress

      Hey Wiiat!

      Glad you found me on here. No, 4-6 weeks isn’t that bad, I’ll just need to make a note of that when I plan to publish the second novel.

      I’m glad you agree with me with NaNoWriMo! I just don’t want to get bored and burnt out with writing. It is a tough job because you put in so many hours with writing a story and then may not even make money on the project. Writing is one of the hardest professions honestly just because of that. Very risky process.

      And, I think that is actually the reason why I write it on paper before I type it up because then when I type it up I catch more errors and can rearrange thoughts that don’t sound good anymore. On top of the fact it frees me from the distractions of the internet lol. Some authors have told me they don’t plot out anything, they just write. I don’t think I could ever do that. I need some sort of structure. And actually, this is how I’m going about writing my novel. So I get the first draft and then the second draft and then I give it to Beta Readers to read, and while they’re reading I plot the next novel (if not already done) but if it is done, then I start to write that novel. Once they’re done with it I edit it once more than give it to a developmental editor and during the time that they have it, I write more in the next book. Fix the changes once I get it back and then off to the copyeditor. Long process but it keeps the novels coming in a relatively short time and sometimes you write something in the next book of the series that you got to go back and change something else in the novel previous. Crazy how stories twist and turn without you expecting it.

      Thanks for the comment on my blog. I like it too 🙂

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