Anyone doing NaNoWriMo?

Every year as October comes to an end, I get excited for three things:

1. Halloween! It’s my favorite holiday. What’s not to love about dressing up in silly costumes?
2. The day after Halloween. Fuck yeah, half priced candy!
3. My birthday, wooo!

But there’s one thing that I simultaneously look forward to and fear:

National Novel Writing Month.

It’s just how it sounds. During the month of November, you’re challenged to write a 50,000 word novel. It’s the one time where quantity matters more than quality, because it’s an exercise in creativity, not editing.

Then why do I dread it? Because I fail every year.

I probably won’t attempt it this year, since I’m busy enough blogging while doing this little thing called “getting my PhD.” I haven’t quite decided yet, but I may be a “Nano rebel” and try to finish my in-progress manuscript. I’m suddenly more motivated to get it done when I have an editor who’s happy to read it.

But are any of you participating? Do you know what your plot’s going to be? Have any of you actually succeeded before?


  1. says

    I’m going to try and get a draft started. Basically, fictional memoirs detailing a crisis of faith for the Pope (new pope, after the current one) and the fallout of that for the Church and the world.

  2. says

    I’ve been participating for years, off and on. This is an “on” year. I haven’t won yet, but my word count is increasing. No plot at this point — I only come up with one of those after the first. There are so many reasons why I’m not published…

  3. Ashleyfmiller says

    I am as mgafm, if you want to be my nano friend. I’ve never done it during nanowrimo, but I decided to do it some other month of the year, back when I was in undergrad, and I did 30k. I figure it’s a reason to write a lot more than normal even if you don’t hit 50k. I’ve got a 3k outline, and i’d like the story to hit 80k, so we’ll see. I hope that between actually outlining, having written several screenplays in the interim, and actually participating in the right month will make a difference.I’m writing a comedic fantasy ala william goldman or terry pratchett.

  4. says

    This is my second straight year doing it. Last year I just jumped in with a basic idea and found myself creating this massive, winding monstrosity that I had no idea where it was going. I haven’t gone back to it since last December.But this year I’ve got a basic plot already set (it helps that the book is about a political campaign, so I already have a set arc to follow from the beginning of the campaign to the end). My problem now, though, is that I have too many ideas and I don’t know which ones I’ll use and which I won’t yet. But it’ll probably be good, that way, leaving things open-ended as I’m writing.

  5. says

    Not participating this year but I am going to start writing my first novel in November. I’ve thought about doing NaNoWriMo, but I dislike the idea of having an artificial goal hanging over my head, especially on the first time I try writing something long form. Also, it’s not like I need to be motivated. I want to be a writer, I will be a writer. I’ve got the rest of my life to work on it so no need to rush and burn myself out trying to get 50,000 words out on paper in a month. We’ll see what happens.Oh, and Jen, you’ll make it this time. No more talk of failure. Keep your brain focused on success and you’re more likely to make it. That may sound self-helpish but it’s true.Good Luck!

  6. Wraithshade says

    This’ll be my second year, and sixth year for my wife, I believe. First year was exciting – I couldn’t wait to get home from work and add more to my story. Finished it just shy of the deadline, then tossed it into the “to be edited” folder for the POS it was.It’s hard to get started, but once you tease the story from your mind it takes on a life of it’s own. Plus it’s awesome to watch your word count on the NaNoWriMo site climb toward such a lofty goal.Feel free to add me: wraithshade

  7. Roki_B says

    I am not a writer by any means. I have a meager blog with very little content. I don’t write outlines. I have little time between finishing up nursing school, social obligations, drinking heavily and constant playing of games.But I’m going to write fifty thousand fucking words in some semblance of cohesion by November 31st. This should be interesting.

  8. mcbender says

    I started work on a novel last summer, wrote a few chapters and then other concerns took priority so I haven’t gotten around to writing much since (I’m at around 20 pages or 10k words, but even that bit needs a lot of revision). This is my fifth or sixth attempt to write this story; I’ve made a lot of false starts and while this was definitely the best of them, I’m still not sure it’s good enough to work with.I might try to use NaNoWriMo as an excuse to work on it a bit more, or maybe even to start over from scratch again (it’s not as though I have much), if I can find the time, but I haven’t got a whelk’s chance in a supernova (phrase courtesy of Douglas Adams) of actually finishing it with everything else I have on my plate (I will be starting work on my own PhD soon, if all goes well, and that has to take priority over a novel with a ridiculous premise that I started writing on a whim).

  9. says

    I first tried it in 2003, but gave up fairly quickly. In 2004-2006, I managed to hit the “50,000 words” mark, but I neither finished my story nor wrote anything good (looking back, I should have tried to enter some of it in the Bulwer-Lytton contest :P ). However, I didn’t participate at all in 2007-2009, and this year I’m easily looking at an 80-hour week for college, so I’m afraid it’s unlikely.

  10. Ratshag says

    I tried it once and quickly realized I needed to stick to short stories. However, I can recommend an excellent resource. My friend Tami has done it and often blogs about tools and tricks to help with the writing process:

  11. Praedico says

    I think I’ll give this a go, it might mean I actually finish a story for once. My usual practice is to constantly revise what I’ve written, trying to find just the right words, and then give up after a month or so when I realise I’ve written two chapters and they both suck.

  12. Ken (NaNoWriMo - bbobb) says

    I did it a couple years ago and got about 20,000 words before I ran out of plot. I’m planning on starting a new juvenile novel on Monday, but there is no way I can dedicate the kind of time necessary to complete it in thirty days. My NaNoWriMo page is….

  13. says

    I’m doing NaNo too. It’s my first year. I put it off in previous years because November is a bad time with exams while at school, and last year I just forgot. I’m looking forward to it this year.

  14. Peter B says

    I’m not going to be involved (too much else in life), but several people in the writing group I belong to (Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild) will be entering it.I find that I’m doing well just to write short stories (two published so far). I have a couple of ideas for novels, but I want to be a lot more confident of my writing before I launch into them. Plus I want to get my study out of the way. Then I can turn study time into writing time.

  15. John Small Berries says

    Every year, I try NaNoWriMo, but then get so bogged down in research for the story that I get so far behind in actual writing that I give up.Maybe I should avoid the alternate history and science fiction genres, but they’re the ones that I really enjoy reading, and what I want to write.

  16. says

    Do it, but spend the months leading up to NaNoWriMo doing the research. From what I understand you only have to do the actual writing in November; the research can be done at any time. Heck, you can even have an outline ready to go if you want.

  17. bulletproofheeb says

    I’m giving it a go. I’ve tried once before but ran out of material in the first week. I figure if self betterment isn’t enough of a motivation Scrivener is coming out for windows and if you finish NaNoWriMo you get a 50% discount on it.You can add me at

  18. keay.sensei says

    I did it in 2004. Doubt I could do it again, now that I have a job and all, but sure would be fun to try if I believed I could.

  19. says

    Did it in ’06 and ’09, getting over 50,000 both times. I usually write a murder mystery and kill off the people in my life who are irritating me at the moment. I’m on to do it this year. I’m “khouria” on the site.

  20. says

    This is my third year doing NaNoWriMo, and as a card-carrying wanna be starving novelist it’s one of my favourite ways to go insane every year. I’m especially insane since this is my final semester of undergrad so I have multiple papers and exams to eat my time up during November along with my wordcount. I’ll be working on an apocalypse-flu type story featuring a healthy dose of the sci-fi and horror stuff. I’m Lora_Hex on the NaNo site, and spend far too much time there. :D

  21. LouisDoench says

    I’m attempting a novelization of the classic Dungeons and Dragons module “Keep on the Borderlands”. I hope to top last years total of 1245 words by a great deal.

  22. fenderplayer96 says

    All the best, Roki, but remember – November 31st is actually December 1st, and a day late…

  23. Annie says

    I completely forgot about it! But, I just signed up… we’ll see where this goes. My user name is: monthofmojowriting.

  24. Dylan says

    I’ve tried it twice, failed twice, when I was in high school. I was tempted to do it in undergrad, but always figured I wouldn’t have the time, with November often being the busiest month of the quarter. I’m going to attempt it this year; not because I have all that much more free time in grad school, but as an exercise in putting the time I would normally fritter away anyhow to a marginally better use.I don’t have anything resembling a plot or idea, though. If you want to follow my doomed attempt, my username on the site is dtaquinas.

  25. Jen (but not the blogger Jen) says

    I won last year (my first attempt) and I’m having another shot at it this year. (I’m in Australia, so it starts in 5.5 hours – argh! I really should be preparing instead of catching up on my blog reading. Oh well.)I’m starting to feel like a creepy-internet-stalker, since I only just added Jen on twitter as well, but I just sent a Nano buddy request. I’m ‘SilverDolphin’.

  26. Omino says

    I finished NaNoWriMo last year. My “novel” was a science-fiction monstrosity. I emailed it to myself, and never looked at it again, (maybe I will now).This year, I plan to write a shorter novel (maybe 100-150 pages) over four days, and sketch up a plot outline first.

  27. Mike says

    This will be my first year entering.I’m really excited for it, I’ve never done anything like this before.

  28. Chris Hansen says

    Jen, I fail NaNoWriMo almost every time I try. I end up with the word count but not really a novel. That isn’t the point.The point is setting a goal, working toward it, meeting new people at the write ins, and HAVING FUN.(the last point is the most important)Nearly every year I start with a novel idea, decide after a week or so that I hate it and then my main character “wakes up from a dream” and I start with a different direction. Just have fun with it and participate.

  29. says

    I’m horrible at being motivated to write…though I tend to think that I’m better at it than I am at drawing, which I do much more. I met a small publisher who was very interested in a story concept I told him…I’m hoping that I can use this NaNoWriMo to actually write it. It goes without saying (which won’t stop me from saying it, obviously) that afterwards there will be a lot of rewriting before I submit it, but I would love to actually finish a book for once

  30. Guest says

    yep i’m doing it this year! and obviously procrastinating tonight, instead of writing… *sigh*

  31. JM says

    Interesting topic, but it does imply that you think that they actually believe the drivel they dish out. I’ve never been convinced of that.

  32. Matheist says

    I succeeded once — in 2006, I think. It was a science fiction novel about an atheist exobiologist dealing with the death of his religious daughter at the hands of religious extremists. Also aliens. It was excruciating! (Both writing it and reading it)

  33. says

    Yes! I’ve tried six times and won twice. It’s become something I look forward to all year. This year I’m working on the sequel to my 2008 novel (which was the last time I won.)

Leave a Reply