NaNoWriMo – My Own Take

It’s NaNoWriMo time again. To those who don’t know what that means, it’s NATIONAL NOVEL WRITING MONTH. It takes place every November. The idea is to write 50,000 words during the month of November (that is equivalent to 1,666.666666 words per day). Not really a difficult thing to do for someone like me. I say someone like me, because I do the Muskoka Novel Writing Marathon every July. That’s a 72-hour novel writing marathon (that works out to 16,666.66666 words per day – a little more tricky!). But in November my writing skills are almost non-existent. So it’s just as hard for me to do 1,666 words a day this time a year as it is for me to do 16,666 words a day in July.

So…in order to cut myself some slack during NaNoWriMo, I have always taken a different look at this event than others have. I know some take the same view as me…but I also know that some take the win/lose side of NaNoWriMo very seriously. I’m just not the kind of person to take stuff seriously to the point of chastising myself…writing is my hobby. It’s something I enjoy profusely, but it is not something I’m going to start using as a weapon. Ever.

For ME, NaNoWriMo means getting your bum in a chair (B.I.C.) and getting some writing done. If the goal is 50,000 words in the month of November, I give myself a pat on the back if I manage to get 20,000 words completed. It doesn’t mean I didn’t win…it means I have 20,000 words that I otherwise would not have. Yay, Me! I refuse to see 20,000 words (or 10,000 or 15,000 or 45,000) as a failure. People have to give themselves CREDIT for getting B.I.C. during NaNoWriMo. The idea is to get writers writing…not to get them to beat themselves up if they don’t write enough.

When the starting whistle goes off tomorrow (NOVEMBER 1st, 2011), please don’t go in with the desperate feeling that you will win or lose. Go in with the knowledge that you are going to give the writer in you some extra time to get more words down. Give yourself a pat on the back, no matter how many words you end up with on November 30th. The idea is to get B.I.C., not make yourself feel terrible about your writing. It’s actually an event that celebrates writing. Remember this…and give credit where credit is due.

Be kind to yourself this NaNoWriMo. Forget the word count. Lose yourself in the words…not the quantity of the words. Output only matters in the sense that you are having output.

enjoy your NaNo experience! I know I will.

My first NaNo Project:

My 2003 NaNo Project – Published 2011

By Kevin Craig

Author, Poet, Playwright. Author of The Camino Club, Billions of Beautiful Hearts, and Book of Dreams, all from Duet Books, the LGBTQ Young Adult imprint of Chicago Review Press. Other books: Pride Must Be A Place, Half Dead & Fully Broken, Burn Baby Burn Baby, The Reasons, Sebastian's Poet, and Summer on Fire.


  1. I’m having a go at NaNoWriMo this year… it’s my first time! I’m a bit nervous but after having read your post, I realise I don’t have to beat myself up about it if I don’t get my novel written. At least I’ll have written a load more words than I would have otherwise done!
    Good luck!
    Best wishes
    Suzy Turner
    Author of The Raven Saga (I’ll be writing the final part of the trilogy!)

  2. Any progress is a move in the right direction. Words on the page is the goal. I haven’t done NaNoWriMo but I’ve seen what comes of it. More power to you, and all who join you!

  3. Thank you, Suzy! Good luck to you on your first nano! Be proud of however many words you create! 😉

  4. Absolutely correct, Sandra! Thanks. Hey…by the by…we took Friday off. When did you want to leave for Montreal??

  5. I don’t NaNo because it doesn’t match the style of how I write, but I always admire those who do. It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game. Great reminder, Kevin, to those who NaNo not to get in a funk if they “lose.” Words on the page is always a win.

  6. Sounds like a great idea!!! And you’re right Kevin, BIC! I think I’ll rise to the challenge myself and write…although I’m in the middle of editing I need something to come between the editing process and procrastination! So IF I get 20K words I’ll be happy!!! Good luck to everyone who puts the effort!!

  7. I did NaNo in 2008 and haven’t had the chance since (always something in the way—good things, though). Fortunately, the timing is perfect this year, so I’ll be doing it again. I’m really looking forward to writing that new novel.

    And to all NaNo participants: have great fun, y’all! 🙂

  8. Thanks for the comments and likes, all! Good luck to those of you NaNoing! Enjoy the words you DO collect…however few or many they may be.

  9. I think this is a GREAT perspective, Kevin, and I’m in agreement with your reasoning. I have never participated in NaNo because I never want to set my current project aside. This year, I’m using the NaNo hype to focus and maintain a consistent writing schedule. It helps knowing so many others are doing the same. I wish I could be one of those people cranking out impressive word counts, but for me, it doesn’t work that way. I process slowly; I was never the first to finish tests in school and years later, learned it isn’t a sign of weakness. Thanks for reminding me about quality over quanitity, and that we win when the project is complete.

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