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Getting psyched for NaNoWriMo

Next month I’m doing the crazy thing I always do in November: NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). And this year I’m going for the hat trick, win number three.

Why do I torture myself like this? So glad you asked.

1. I’m competitive by nature, so once I’ve decided to do it, I won’t quit until I reach my 50,000 words.

2. Writing under the pressure of a deadline forces me to turn off my internal editor and just write. I really, really need that.

3. It gives me the excuse to ignore distractions and focus on my writing. And it helps that so many of my friends are doing the same thing.

4. It’s inspiring. I love pushing my limits, and always come out of the month with a fresh sense of what I can accomplish.

Yes, November is one of the worst months anyone could choose (is the founder from Canada or something?).

Yes, I'll be writing a pile of crap (but Anne Lamott would approve).

Yes, for 30 days I'll ignore my family, turn down social engagements, forget to shower, let the dog fend for herself, run out of clean clothes, and make frozen dinners every night (okay, I might make a decent dinner once or twice).

But at the end I come out with 50K shiny new words and the feeling that I can do anything I set my mind to. Even if it only happens once a year, that’s priceless.

How about it? Are you up for the NaNo challenge this year?

Tell your friends!


  1. Reply

    Nice post, Gwen. Well, I’m signed up. We’ll see… Haven’t written anything since the 3rd Grade Christmas play. First time for NaNoWriMo, too. Have to agree that Nov is a tough month… A new practice going, Harvard Edx class online, writing a novel…getting in shape for our Dec beach wedding in Hawaii. Should be an interesting month for this old man. We’ll see how it goes! Cheers, Steve

    • Reply

      Thanks, Steve! Now I feel like a slacker. All I have on my plate is Thanksgiving and a few appointments. 😉

      If anything can force you to make the time to write, NaNo is it. But don’t get discouraged if you don’t get to 50K (which to answer your follow-up question, is how you win). The real point is to get some words down. Anything more than zero is a personal win in my book.

      Good luck with it! And congratulations on your upcoming wedding!

  2. Reply

    Yup. I’m there. This is year ten for me and I love it. If nothing else, it reminds me to focus on my writing as all the craziness of the holidays set in — and has proved the excuse to depart from the family dinner when we’ve had enough. “Oh, I have to get my words done for the day.”

    Funny, but it’s been my husband who’s used that excuse the most.

    • Reply

      Wow, ten years, carokinkead! That’s great. The focus is the thing. It’s hard to do all year long, but I don’t feel as guilty about letting things slide for one little month. And yes, it’s a good excuse to leave the table if you need one. 😉

  3. Reply

    I’m going to give it a go. We’ll see. I’m telling a few folks so I’m hoping that will help keep me accountable. Should be an interesting experience. I’m cramming through your Scrivener book in preparation!

    • Reply

      Yay, themercerweavea! Trying is the most important part. And you’ve put it in print for everyone here to see, so you have to do it now. 😉 Good luck!

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