Should I NaNoWriMo This Year?

November 1st-30th–National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo to those in the know)–is when anyone who’s ever considered writing a novel tries. Words pour from pens like an avalanche in the Swiss Alps with the goal of finishing a novel in a month. People stop watching TV, making dinner, visiting social media, and worrying about COVID–all in the name of literary passion.

In 2020:

  • 552,335 writers participated in our programs, including 97,439 students and educators in the Young Writers Program.
  • 906 volunteer Municipal Liaisons guided 671 regions on six continents.
  • 448 libraries, bookstores, and community centers opened their doors to novelists through the Come Write In program.
  • 71,832 Campers tackled a writing project—novel or not—at Camp NaNoWriMo.

But there are reasons not to do it. Meredith Phillips over at her YT channel about writing shares her thoughts:


Any time but November, a novel would take from one to ten years to complete (twenty-two for my first), exhaust the writer and infuriate those close to them who don’t understand how sitting in a hard chair and talking to fictitious people can be so gal-darn fascinating. I wanted to find a good video to share how to prepare for NaNo–there are a ton of them! Here’s one from Kate and Abbey, a sister team that shares writing thoughts. Here’s what they suggest to prepare if you are participating (8,000+ views so they have a few followers!):

If you can’t decide, feel free to read my history of indecision, every year for a decade with mixed results. Here are a few of the articles in the long stream:

Why I Failed at NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo–OK, I’ll try it…

16 Reasons I’m NOT Doing NaNoWriMo (Again)

4 Ways to Pre-plan Your NaNoWriMo Story

This year, I’m at a completely wrong spot for a new book. I’m editing the last of my Dawn of Humanity trilogy, not yet ready to mentally move on to the next trilogy in the series, This Savage Land. If you’re going to try this, kudos! NaNo has a lot of resources on their website to help you along. Here’s one about finding a topic:


@nanowrimo #nanowrimo #preptober

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Man vs. Nature saga, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the acclaimed Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Natural Selection, Winter 2022 

116 thoughts on “Should I NaNoWriMo This Year?

  1. Pingback: Preptober and NaNoWriMo, and Some Announcements – Willow Croft

  2. Thanks for sharing!!… The universe knows that I am not a writer… so I follow my heart and the heart tells me when it is time to write something and the heart always does the talking… 🙂

    When Is The Right Time, One Would Ask….

    To climb a mountain
    To fly a plane,
    To hug a friend
    To run naked in the rain.

    To stand up tall
    To make your thoughts known,
    To blend with a crowd
    To go it alone.

    To till the field
    To sow the seeds of peace and more,
    To pen a poem of love
    To write a musical score.

    To take this path
    To maybe take the other,
    To open ones heart
    To share it with another.

    Today, tomorrow perhaps?
    The answer is in the heart, you see,
    So when is the right time, one asks?
    When your heart wishes for it to be..
    ( Larry “Dutch” Woller ).

    Until we meet again..
    May your day be touched
    by a bit of Irish luck,
    Brightened by a song
    in your heart,
    And warmed by the smiles
    of people you love.
    (Irish Saying)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. November is such a difficult month for this writing challenge. Thanksgiving holiday for us in the US (family! planning! food prep! stress!) and from there it’s days it seems before the next holiday. So, that’s my first excuse. 🙂 I tried NaNo one year and I’ll admit, I got a LOT written, and I was happy with what I wrote. However, I was stressed to the max – so much so that I didn’t write on that book for months after! So, I’m sticking with just a little at a time. Thanks for this great yearly “Should I?” with the videos.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m not participating either. I’ve never, btw. I find the concept of finishing an entire novel in a month fascinating, and although I’ve written some drafts in a matter of weeks before (six for Heir of Doom), if I insert rules, time constraints and whatnots, I develop writer’s block. I’ve also never been in that period where I can start a new novel by november. I’m either editing, already drafting, or something.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve never had the time to tackle NaNo, and I’m not much good at just writing fast and furious. I’m definitely a plodder, so I don’t think this challenge would work for me. Great post today for those who might want to jump in!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Jacqui – I’ve never been inspired to consider it for long! But I’ve never seen these resources … so thanks for the links. I wonder if one could do short stories … probably – it (the idea!) just popped into my head. Still not this year … cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I think Write More benefits the new writer who is still struggling with just sit down and put the pen on the paper. And perhaps it is beneficial to those experienced writers who have it a wall. But, I would think if you already have your books going, it would sidetrack a person’s writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Once again, I’m not ready to do it, but I’m writing everyday anyway. Probably not as much as I would at NaNoWriMo, but with babysitting a 14-month-old three days a week and teaching a writing class on Sat. mornings, I’m happy to give it a miss this year. One day though…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I think I’ve said it before, but NaNo is the worst time for me. Days are getting longer and warmer and November has the end of school year in it. There’s so much happening that I learnt very quickly I am doomed to fail if I try. I need a June version!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Great post!

    I myself prefer to take my time, so I don’t participate in NaNo, but it works for me as I’m on my fifth manuscript already.

    But if anyone’s on the fence, I can safely say that if a decision involves writing or not writing, we should always go with writing.

    Thanks for this post, Jacqui!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I would never say never, but I have a hard time reducing a creative endeavor like writing to churning out a certain number of words per day. If it works for some—great, but I have a hard time imagining that I would ever participate.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. With no full books in the works this November, I think I’m going for it! 🙂 It’s been a couple of years since I went for 50,000, but I have a plot that could make it, as long as I don’t get lost down research rabbit holes… We’ll see!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Yes, no one should feel guilted into participating! I like these kinds of things for poetry writing, but only when I’m ready. And it needs to be a good month. For me, November would never be a good month. Or December. However, kudos to all who make it work for them!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I’ve done it the last two years but am in full editing mode that I don’t want to stop now. It is a book that came from NaNo though that required more editing than usual:) I may pass this year or only do a smaller word count.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. It’s such a huge commitment! I think I’d do really well with it, whenever I participate, but so far, it’s never been the right time. Maybe whenever I decide to write another memoir, I’ll start my first draft in November. It would be a fun and rewarding challenge. When I live in a house and don’t go anywhere for an entire month. 🙂

    I think your routine and dedication is sufficient enough for your writing, Jacqui. You – of all people – don’t need a challenge like this to be organized and reach your goals.

    Happy road tripping! Physically and virtually with your editing. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I tried it a couple of times but I got turned off by the site itself when they went political a couple of years ago. I didn’t go there to read about politics. It would be better at a different time of the year because in November we are ramping up for Thanksgiving, then Christmas, then the New Year. January might be an ideal month, actually.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I’m far too intimidated to try NaNo, although I’ve thought about it in the past because so many of my friends participate. I like the resources you listed here, and I’m interested in reading your own articles you listed, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Hi Jacqui – I’m doing NaNoWriMo this year and I’m looking forward to it. This will be my third time taking part, so I know it can be of benefit to me. It gives me the extra motivation and discipline to get down the main elements of the first draft.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. NaNoWriMo would be sheer torture for me. That kind of pressure and focus on an arbitrary word count would take all the joy out writing fiction. That said, everyone’s writing process is different, and I know for some, NaNoWriMo aligns very well with it.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I’ve done it before (most recently two years ago) and have learned it’s not for me. While I did manage to write 50K words, I was mentally exhausted by the end of November and much of what I wrote was garbage. It took me two months before I even tried to fix it and for months I was stuck at 50K words. (Add, delete, add, delete, add, delete.) I’m sure I celebrated a little when I finally topped 60K.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Hi Jacqui – November isn’t the greatest month to start a book project (Thanksgiving, kids home, etc.) but I’m going to do it. Have any of your books started as NaNoWriMo projects? I’m asking because at the library where I work, we are interviewing NaNoWriMo writers whose projects were eventually published, self, indie or traditionally. If that’s a fit for you and you’re interested, email me at bvitelli2009@gmail.com and I’ll connect with you on my work email. Happy Monday!

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Dear Jacqui,
    some people can write a bestseller within few weeks like Rober Louis Stevenson who wrote his “Treasure Island” in an amazingly short time. But by far the most writers are not able to do something similar. We don’t think that it matters how long it takes to write a text but usually as shorter it takes as worse the text is. So we think it is better to forget this NaNoWriMo event.
    Wishing you a wonderful week
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  23. I wanted to try it this year, but: edits on Book 1 means that I’ll be moving to Book2 in December. Gah. I have written an MS one year, but that’s been shelved for now–we’ll see 🙂 All the best with your edits, Jacqui!

    Liked by 2 people

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