Monday, 19 October 2009

Why are you doing NaNoWriMo?

People participate in this grand event for all sorts of reasons. Some do it just because they have nothing better to do, some do it to try something new, some do it to find out if they have 50K words within them, some do it just for the madness of writing anything, and some do it to create a story. For me, 50K of rubbish writing is not a win, because I am not doing it just for the hell of it, I am doing it for a purpose. I have managed to write plenty of trash by myself, I really need to challenge to succeed in that particular area :P. My goal is to have a reasonable first draft that could be polished into a proper, submission worthy book. I suppose the good thing about this event is that you do get to define your own win. After all, you are really only doing this for yourself, not to prove anything to anyone (or if you are doing it to prove something to someone else, then you need to take a look at your thinking). I don't think it's necessary for every writer to expect a same level of success from event such as this, or even same level of ambition. We are all different, and different things work for different people. But I do feel that it may be useful for serious writers to consider why they want to do it. Even if the answer just to have a break where you are simply creative without worrying about a specific goal. I believe knowing why you are doing it, makes it more purposeful as oppose to a random exercise. What do you think?


  1. I love the idea of focusing very hard and busting out a huge chunk of brand spankin' new WIP material. It will show us what we're capable of, and that alone is really exciting. We'll get to experience the wonderful highs and adrenaline that creating provides, every freakin' day! Plus, having a new novel to query out or show your agent is just opening yourself to more opportunity.

    I can't wait for the madness to begin!

  2. Nice post, LW. :-)

    I'm doing it to try and instill some dedication into myself. At the moment, I have a hard time writing a reasonable amount every day.

    Hopefully this will help.


  3. I'm like Adam. It's like a deadline. (If I do it.) Without one, I'm just too lazy. I have an idea I've only been toying with. Maybe this is what I need to get it done.

  4. I like the idea of a bunch of writers writing at the same time every year- kind of exciting.

    I like the idea of hunkerin' down and getting it done. I am a procrastinator at heart and it is a struggle to write some days, but I think having a month deadline would be the ultimate test! I can't wait :)

    I'm with you though. I do want something good to show for it, not just rubbish ;)

  5. Lunar, I am also looking forward to see how much I can accomplish in short time.

    Adam/Matt, I tend to fall off the discipline wagon alot, so NaNo should be good for that. Hopfully, with long lasting effects.

    Erica, one of the main thing that attracts me about NaNo is knowing thousands of other people are doing it. As well as giving a sense of community, it also gives me sense of healthy competition, because I say to myself, if all those people can write 50K in a month, why can't I?

  6. NaNoWriMo is something that sets goals and structure to my writing, something that hopefully will instill a dedication that I have been lacking recently. I am also looking to have something viable at the end of the month.

    Thanks for this post. It made me stop and really think about what I want out of the coming month.


  7. My reason is similar to Erica's. I also like the idea of a bunch of writers working at the same time towards a goal. This is my first time doing nanowrimo. I'm excited and nervous at the same time. I write everyday already but the idea of having a deadline and having a finished first draft when I meet that deadline is very exciting.

  8. The first time I did NaNo, it was to see if I could actually finish a draft. I was one of those people who started lots of things, but never finished because I was constantly trying to "make it perfect" the first time. So I did write rubbish, and I finished a bad draft of 50,000 words. But that drivel really gave me the confidence that I could finish even though it's trunked, it was completely worth the time.

    Each successive time I've done NaNo, I've pushed myself to do something just a little different. Less/more planning. More complex plots. Writing schedule habits. And though I've yet to come up with something editable, I've learned more every single time. The deadline, the energy of lots of other people all writing at the same time - it all creates a great learning/creative environment, IMO.

    This year, I want an editable, finished draft. Here's hoping!

  9. I'm like Jamie. The first time I did NaNo it was to see if I could actually finish a draft. Unlike her, I didn't make the 50,000 words. I did finish the draft, but it topped out at 32,000.

    Every year I participate I find I learn more about myself and it makes my writing stronger.

  10. Thanks for all your comments guys. I really enjoyed reading them, and it's fascinating what motivates people to this insanity.

    Jamie / C R,
    It's excellent that you have used this experience to learn something new every year. I have learned so far in my writing attempts that even the most failed attempts make me grow as a writer, because then I learned what NOT TO DO.