Why I Won’t Be Taking Part in #NaNoWriMo

Today marks the start of National Novel Writing Month, or #NaNoWriMo for those of you who are more hashtag oriented. Aspiring authors everywhere will be unleashing their creative juices, in order to write a book in 31 days. Progress reports will be religiously maintained via updates to their social media platform of choice. At the end of the process, tens of thousands of new literary masterpieces could be in existence.

I have to doff my cap to those courageous (or is it foolhardy) enough to be embarking on the challenge. I’ve been battering away at my first novel for a year now, and only recently have I been able to tentatively say it is finished. Even then, there still remains a huge amount of work in order to convert it into a product which I would be comfortable to allow see the light of day.

I get the point, though, which is encouraging people to write on a consistent basis. With me, it has been where and when I can, given the many other competing priorities I attempt to juggle on a daily basis. I’m writing this blog post from the austere confines of Belfast City Library on my lunch break. While praying that the on call phone by my side doesn’t shatter the silence and elicit dark looks from nearby book browsers.

We all dream of the luxury of being a full time author, ambling around in our bathrobes as we dictate our next bestseller to a devoted PA. The truth is that most of you are a bit like me, snatching a spare half hour here or there, to frantically scribble down a few words or furiously hammer at our keyboards. Time is a precious commodity and, all too often, writing has to take a back seat to more pressing concerns.

Quite simply, I don’t have the time to take part in #NaNoWriMo. I work full time in a challenging and demanding job. Home life is equally hectic, to the point where Fionnuala and I have had to markedly scale down our social commitments in recent years. We used to be out every night at some event or another. We try to keep those to a minimum now., where possible.

The evenings are precious to us and once I cross the threshold at night, I am loathe to venture back out again. I have blog comments to reply to, chapters to edit, e-mails to compose and online research to conduct. I rarely get an opportunity to watch television now and we are months behind when it comes to our Netflix obligations. I haven’t even watched Season 2 of Jessica Jones. Unforgivable, I know.

If it wasn’t for my Sky News app I wouldn’t have a clue what was going on in the outside world. The only daylight I see now is when I run. My Kindle is gathering dust, with half a dozen unread purchases awaiting me. And, as ever, I’m hopelessly behind in catching up on my favourite bloggers. If it wasn’t for Fionnuala steering the ship, I’m afraid I wouldn’t know what day of the week it was, half the time.

So I applaud the #NaNoWriMo Brigade as they embark upon their literary journeys. May the words flow and the ideas overfloweth. I’m afraid it’s a bridge too far for me. I’ll be with you in spirit, and will follow your progress as best I can on WordPress. I’m certain some literary gems will be unearthed in the days and weeks ahead. Roll on 30 November 2018. Then we can all start to panic about Christmas.

Are you taking apart in #NaNoWriMo? What target are you setting yourself?

Are you writing a book or planning one? How are you getting on?

What’s your favourite hashtag?

80 thoughts on “Why I Won’t Be Taking Part in #NaNoWriMo

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  1. I’ve always wanted to participate in this, but like you I have tons of other commitments in my life that prevent me from doing this. So my way of participating this year is not traditional, and by no means will my novel be done by December 1st, but I am trying to commit to write at least a few hours a week when I can snatch a moment. And for me, that will be an accomplishment!

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  2. I’m not a novel writer. I’m trying my hand at poetry looking for my style, finding my voice. But I’m thankful for nanowrimo because knowing what it is helped me to date the poetry wrimo.

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  3. I write novels, but for me, it’s a time consuming process. I’m a plotter and a pantser. I know what I want to happen in the novel, but the road to get there often times takes me through side streets, alley ways, through overgrown trails, and finally back to the main road. It’s on these side roads and such that I really find my characters and figure out what makes them tick and how it influences the story. To me, the journey is part of the fun. Writing a book in thirty days for me would be a journey not worth taking because I’d probably miss the wonderland along the way..

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  4. I am also sitting out this year, for the reason that last night at 2130 I sent my copyeditor my 310-page manuscript of “Foes and Rivals,” due back on Nov 20th.

    I am sick of writing and need time off; if for no other reason than to let my liver heal.

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  5. I did, but it was years ago. I think NaNo is really good for writers who need a good kick to tap into their voice. I’m not opposed to it, but I doubt I would ever do it again. I regularly surpass the goal now, but I’m highly competitive with myself and tend to avoid what everyone else is doing. It’s still “all about the words” for me, but I also keep those numbers to myself. Whether you’re participating in NaNo or not, good luck to everyone! Keep writing! k xx

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  6. I doubt I have a novel in me, having a few ones abandoned in the past. I do take part in NaPoWriMo in April every year. Two years in and I am now writing a poem a day and posting. But I have radically cut back on voluntary and evening committments to do this. But on the upside, it is very good for my head. In the days when I was full-time employed, I too would snatch time for poetry writing in either the Leed City Library or Art Gallery. Just work it whatever way.

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  7. I was in my coffee shop this morning tap, tap, tapping away and overheard that it was World Vegan Week. I could do NaNo but sadly only with a constant supply of bacon sandwiches, so I think it’ll have to wait until next year when perhaps they won’t coincide … 🙄

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  8. It took me over 2 years to write my first novel, and longer than that to get it published. As a teacher and parent, my schedule was much like yours is. Now that I’m a retired “empty-nester,” I still don’t have time for that bathrobe scenario you described. There are grandchildren to babysit and entertain,church volunteer duties, and the blogging thing you made reference to. I do, however, make time to watch TV with my husband in the evening. (I have to sort the laundry sometime.)

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  9. I wrote Irish Firebrands before I knew NaNoWriMo existed, but back when I started on it, I wrote at something like a NNWM rate of speed (although the subsequent research pushed completion out to 3 years and 200 thousand words). Since then, I’ve done NNWM to get a head start on the easy, interpersonal stuff for the second novel: 50 thousand words of miscellaneous beginnings, middles, and ends of scenes were easily knocked out in a month. Then, pre-Christmas 2015, pernicious anemia and cancer body-slammed me for a couple of years, during which time I was lucky just to be able to think coherently; writing was out of the question. This past year, I’ve been able to ramp up my research for that novel, and I hope that by this Christmas I’ll be in good enough mental shape to dust off that NNWM-generated stuff and get to work on what will be probably another 200K-word story.

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  10. Are you taking apart in #NaNoWriMo? YES!

    What target are you setting yourself? To write – no matter what it is (although ideally the book I set out to write lol) – and keep at it. Not everyday, because that’s impossible due to life reasons, but at least an hour during the workday. While a specific word count is a nifty goal to have, for me, it’s more a habit-setting goal to write more often and I’m using NaNoWriMo for that goal.

    Are you writing a book or planning one? Yes – it’s based on a game I started playing last year.

    How are you getting on? So far so good! I’m getting up early each morning to dedicate time just for writing. It definitely helps to schedule around work and home life so there is as little impact (other than less sleep) as possible.

    What’s your favourite hashtag? The ones I make up on the fly. They’re usually puns. The most reason one I used was in response to a friend’s post about makeup. I commented something on the lines kids these days use, “Your eyebrows are on fleek!” and I followed it up with #SistersNotTwins in reference to brows not needing to be 100% similar.

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  11. Giving it a whirl, shooting for the fill 50K words. Which could be a challenge depending on holiday/moving demands on my time. On the other hand, I’ve wanted to do write forever, so why not play well with others….
    Favorite Hashtag? Uhhh…. I’m not that hip. I think it’s the one I press after so many other buttons to delete voicemails.

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  12. Yes, it’s a huge commitment that might not even make the best sense, given one’s project and process. At the same time, I love the inspiration – whether participating or not. Each year, as November approaches, it makes me think again about my writing and all the possibiilties I’ve got on the back burner. All the best on your current project!

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  13. Your life sounds like mine. I think my goal is to write or do something creative every day. I don’t need the stress of writing my next book. I wrote book two fast enough But it required daily practice so whatever I do I want to get into a routine. It’s just so hard as a mom and working long days.

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      1. Not out yet. One is with a publisher and they said editor but who knows what they’re thinking the other is in draft form and still plotting book three. But thanks for asking. This one is YA Fantasy Dystopian and started playing with another idea for NaNoWriMo this year to take a break from my constant and get a different perspective. It’s kind of fun playing with new characters

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  14. I agree with you and your wife about Nanowrimo this month. Although, I’ve wanted to do it, I can’t. I have too much on my plate as it is.

    On the other hand, I am currently in the process of writing down my ideas and potential scenes for my Christian fiction novel.

    Knowing me, I’m a very meticulous person and need a very thorough understanding of what it is I want to write.

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  15. I’m taking part and I’m doing my best to keep witht he word count suggestion and to meet the deadline of November 30. I am being cheered on by some family members which to me is a big deal. They want to see this book on the shelves or at least on their shelves which I can do with self publishing. My book is three years in the making and I’m hoping to make this the last year. I’m doing good so far. I haven’t started mumbling incoherencies to myself yet which is good – that usually happens around Thanksgiving. So yeah. #amwriting or #whatdidIjustdo. Congratulations on completing your book! That’s a huge deal!

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  16. This was encouraging to me as I’ve always viewed the November-novel-writing-movement with a bit of wariness and guilt for not exactly wanting to join in.
    Having said that, I may find some time to continue working on a novel-in-progress. Like you, though, I am behind on so many things and part of my recovery is slowing down enough to be taking a daily nap! So I just don’t think its a good idea for me to add a bunch of pressure to my routine right now.

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  17. Hi! I decided to commit to writing every day in November without being officially in #MaNoWriMo. I’ve thought of doing it in years past, but I don’t like the pressure. I’m a single mama of two, so I’m with all of you who are busy enough to pass on it this year. My book is a collection of writings on gratitude, so all I do is keep writing about all the awesome things in my life and I’m essentially writing a book. Thanks for the like on my blog, btw. 😊

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      1. Thanks for the well wishes. I’m not sure when I’ll publish. I’ve only recently gained momentum with committing to writing, and my blog is finally getting noticed the last couple of weeks. I think once I have 365 days of gratitude posts, that’ll be the time to look into publishing. I also have a couple of other ideas for books, mostly memoirs. I’ve never published, and that’s my goal. I’m glad you asked. It gets me thinking. Come Leaves Press, Hay House, and Riverhead stand out as possibilities.

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  18. I did Nano the past two years, and it was hectic but I made it. This year I don’t have time either, so I’m doing a smaller challenge: Fill an A6 notebook. That’ll be about 12000 words, which is a bit more manageable, and if I carry it everywhere I can squeeze in words where I can 🙂
    I hope you find time for Jessica Jones, I enjoyed season 2!

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  19. Not going to do it this year. I don’t have the time. Instead, I am going to get back on board with writing 2000 words a day on my second book. I know a few who do this thing every November and they way they talk about it… well it sounded like they had no time to do anything else. lol I am too overbooked now… Maybe when I retire? Probably not then either.

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  20. I did NaNoWroMo one time, and got really burnt out by the end, so I’m not doing it again. The local writer’s group has enough deadlines with a story or poem every two weeks.

    This yeah I’m in my final semester of college before I get my degree, so that’s taken up a lot of my writing time.

    I’m also working on a knitting project that has a lot of significance to me and my Family, so that”s my main creative focus right now.

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  21. I’m not doing it, though I was inspired to start a side project. I know some friends who one. One had 50k in 11 days…his average was over 4k daily. I…what?! Others are about at 20k currently. I don’t get it. I’m so precise about everything.

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