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Why NaNoWriMo Is a No-go

NaNoWriMoI admit I’m tempted. In one week, at the stroke of midnight on November 1, writers buzzing on Halloween candy will be grabbing their computers or their pens and their wits and diving into the challenge of writing a 50,000-word novel in 30 days.

Last year, over 310,000 people took part in the National Novel Writing Month (affectionately known as NaNoWriMo). I wasn’t one of them. And I won’t be this year either.

It would be a cool thing to do. Here’s why I’d like to take part:

  1. To barrel through the first draft of my next novel and get the darn thing done.
  2. For bragging rights.
  3. To connect with others facing the same challenge, and especially forge bonds with those in the Kootenay district.

Here’s why I won’t take part:

  1. I’m not ready.

It’s as simple as that. I know the basic premise of my next novel. I know the main characters. But I don’t know them well enough. I could conceivably write a 50,000-word novel about them, but it wouldn’t be a good one. It would lack depth. It would be a mess.

I don’t like messes. I’d rather plan carefully and do minimal cleanup after (or so I fantasize) than plunge in and have to sink or swim. Each time I pick up a novel by someone else, I’m flooded with ideas: An unreliable narrator? That might work. A ghostly presence? Hmm, perhaps. Raw, honest emotion? You bet. Current events snake their way in. The weather on a particular day inspires.

I’d lose these nuances if I rushed. Or at least they’d come as afterthoughts, rather than part of the underlying structure.

If I were 100 per cent prepped, I’d grab the bull by the horns. But I’m not—and I’d rather go with the flow of my muse and my usual butt-in-chair schedule than the pressures of a random, currently inconvenient deadline.

(Besides, if I dedicated myself exclusively to my novel, how could I capture my flood of ideas for the Kootenay Literary Competition?)

Are you planning on completing NaNoWriMo? I’d love to hear how it goes!

Read previous posts.

About the Author

Posted by Galadriel

Hi, I’m Galadriel: blogger, author, reader and resident of a quaint small town in the breathtaking West Kootenay region of southeastern British Columbia. You can also find me on Twitter and Facebook.


  1. I never feel ready when I start a story.

    This will be my third year attempting NaNoWriMo. The first year, I underestimated how difficult it would be, and I fell short by a lot. Last year, I barely made it. This year, I’ll see if last year was a fluke or not.

    If you’re really not ready, then you’re really not ready. You’ll know better than anyone else.

    As for me, I’m starting a story that I’ve been thinking about writing for about 12 years. I feel like I’m not ready, but that’s often how I mask fear.

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