writers / writing

#IWSG–Is NaNoWriMo Important if I Don’t Care About the Word Count?

writers groupThis post is for Alex Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writers Support Group (click the link for details on what that means and how to join. You will also find a list of bloggers signed up to the challenge that are worth checking. The first Wednesday of every month, we all post our thoughts, fears or words of encouragement for fellow writers.

This month’s insecurity – Am I missing a lot not doing NaNoWriMo?

I have never tried it, though I’ve researched a lot about it for articles. I don’t set a daily word count goal–I write fifty or five hundred and I’m fine with that. I don’t care as long as I write. It seems to work for me, but I’m open to improvement. Every year, NaNoWriMo grabs my attention in November as a possible way to improve my writing habits. I rarely hear any participants sound lukewarm about the time they spent. In fact, most are effusive about the writing accomplished, the kick-start to their novel, and the supportive community. You don’t even have to succeed–all you have to do is try. Failure to accomplish the required number of words (50,000) still means success in so many other ways.

Which makes me feel a little like those kindergarten soccer games where everyone gets a trophy and no one keeps score.

What do you think? Is there reason enough to join even if I have no intention of writing all those words, every day? Why are you joining?

More IWSG articles:

Am I good enough? Does it matter?

Am I a Storyteller?

When does technical become boring

Jacqui Murray is the author of dozens of books (on technology in education) as well as the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com and TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. In her free time, she is  editor of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out to publishers next summer.


55 thoughts on “#IWSG–Is NaNoWriMo Important if I Don’t Care About the Word Count?

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  15. Jacqui it was fun but I don’t go around saying I won like some people do. You win when you finish and edit the first crappy draft you have. So what I took away from it was, I can do this any time, I can ask a couple of writing buddies to make me accountable and I would still end up with another first crappy draft. Its what you do after that counts. Im still working on mine and will be for some time. Would I do it again??? Probably not.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, those first drafts are crappy, aren’t they? I cringe just thinking of them. You’ve hit on the reason I don’t do NaNoWriMo: I haven’t finished the last story I created, and don’t need another draft.


  16. I’m participating this year for the first time and enjoying it. The best thing about it is the ready made excuse around my house: “Oh honey, I’m doing this writing thing and I have to write…so I can’t possible, vacuum, cook, clean the attic, babysit, rake leaves, do laundry or grocery shop. So sorry. It’s this Nanowrimo thing (fake sigh).” 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  17. My thought on the NaNoWriMo is this: It’s probably great for those who need outside kicks in the rear to get words down and/or are in love with the thought of competition despite the fact that no one loses. Some people need a high level of pressure to feel that inner need to get ‘it’ done. NaNoWriMo certainly can help with this. I’m not one of those people though. I have a tendency to be way too stubborn to quit what I’ve started. What I have a problem with is taking time to regroup and replenish my inner strength.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I’ve done Nano a few times and loved it, but that last time, I felt like it sucked energy from my projects. I think that may have just been where I was at, personally. It’s a rollicking fun challenge, and the kids/young writers site is actually more fun than the adult – I know this because my kids and some of my students have participated in it. The young writers site allows the writer to set their own word count goal and gives out little prompts like: there’s an explosion, what happens next? or, you find a treasure map and . . .
    I think it’s a fun way to get a bunch of words on a page, but it isn’t for everyone or even for every year.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I’ve always thought NaNo was for people who say they want to write but don’t. It’s not for me and probably not for you for the same reason. I write. You write. Though a number of books have come from a NaNo inception, most people who “win” say that the work is crap. That’s not what I want to produce. I aim for quality and I know you do as well. The only thing that appeals to me about the whole event is the community that NaNo fosters. I’m planning on having coffee with a bunch of my friends. I can see their eyes, their smiles, and taste their cookie if I want. Word count? Words count when they’re meaningful and move a reader to tears, laughter, or wonderment. So if you write the way you’ve been doing lately, I think you’ve won NaNo, Jacqui. Best to your endeavors.
    BTW, coffee this week?

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Anything that gets you writing is good, whether you hit a word count or not. I tried it once, but discovered my skill set didn’t match up with fast writing. It was fun for a while though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Each year, I give myself a year to think about it, before making the decision for the next time. So far, it’s always the same conclusion. I’ll have a massive writing project I’m currently buried in done by next November. Maybe I’ll do it then…


  21. Whenever I set strict goals for myself the rest of my life and the people around me suffer. I steer clear of group projects.they leave too much room for me to play the comparison game–not good for a recovering perfectionist.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. “I don’t care as long as I write.”—That’s kind of how I am. Some weeks are more productive than others depending on what I have going on. But November is such a busy month for me. I don’t think it makes sense for me to even attempt NaNo during it.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. It works for some people and some need the push and goal to write. I am not doing NaNo since I already have too much writing on my desk and a novel isn’t in my plan for this year. First I’ll finish my poetry collection and then next year I’ll work on a novel.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m thinking of following Lidy’s example over at Paving My Writers Road and write a whole bunch of different mss that total 50,000 words. Through that lens, it almost seems easy to complete. We’ll see how I feel next year!


    • I love writing and happily have lots of outlets for that passion. I can’t imagine a day going by without writing. I got the iPhone 6S+ so I have a bigger phone screen and can now write away from my computer!


  24. I’m doing it to jump start and kick my but into writing. I have plans for next year and would like to have a written rough draft of the stories I’ll be tackling in 2016, completed before the end of the year. And NaNoWriMo is great for that.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. I think, as with all things it is a great idea for some people and it might suit their work at hand perfectly. Personally I am not taking part butI am finding inspiration by so many beavering away to stick to a more rigid writing timetable than usual.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. The idea always appeals to me … but before I get into reasons (rather, making excuses) of why not, I’ll say that I have the greatest admiration for those who attempt it and a little more for those who complete it. And jealousy, and envy and more besides …

    Liked by 3 people

  27. I do it because it kicks my butt to write. I have friends who do “NaNo Lite,” that is, some word count other than the 50,000 word goal–but I think the experience suffers for it. It’s like running a marathon and surviving “hitting the wall.” Somehow, the pressure, (while it might not be your best writing) forces you to find your own voice. And hey, that’s what editing is for. Maybe that’s just a bleary, middle of the night WriMo’s rambling (having just completed a 2,655 word chapter.) I missed a day yesterday, so today and tomorrow I have to make up for the shortfall. What can I say, obsession agrees with me, maybe more so than sleep.

    Liked by 1 person

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