Mental Health Monday–To NaNo or Not To NaNo, That Is the Question


Okay, so last week I reviewed some NaNoWriMo prep tips because it’s important to be mentally prepared to tackle writing 50,000 words in 30 days.

This week, I wanted to check in with you guys regarding whether or not NaNo is for you.

Come on, admit it, if you haven’t done NaNo (and if you have), I’m sure you’ve had some fluctuating thoughts and feelings toward it.

(Talking about thoughts and feelings = Mental Health, just in case you were looking for the Mental Health Monday connection. 😉 )

It’s a BIG decision.

Here’s some reasons to DO NaNo:

  • You’re looking for a new writing challenge.
  • You’ve got an idea for a novel and wanna crank out that rough draft like nobody’s business.
  • You’re focusing on word counts and quantity rather than quality (I’m not dissing quality; quality can be developed during revising).
  • You need a reason to commit to putting down a certain number of words a day for a certain length of time.
  • You need the structure.
  • You thrive on that sense of accomplishment that NaNo gives.
  • Your friends have coerced you to…oh, wait, maybe that’s not a great reason.
  • You made a bet.   (You didn’t see that one, okay?)

Here’s some reasons to sit out and cheer on your NaNo’ing friends:

  • You’ve done NaNo before.
  • You know you can plop a bunch of words down on the page.
  • You want to work on quality rather than quantity.
  • You struggle with massive word counts and might get frustrated with the process to the point where it’s no longer enjoyable to write.
  • You hate revising and know that a NaNo project will need a couple years of smoothing…if it’s smoothable at all.
  • You’ve got a HECK of a lot of other things happening in November.
  • You’ve got a life. (Just kidding. NaNoers have lives, hehehe.)

What are some other reasons to NaNo or not to NaNo?

Bottom line: Listen to yourself. If you’re ready, you’ll know. If you’re not ready, you don’t have to push yourself to do it. Another November will come around next year. Just sayin’.

Check out Lydia’s Medical Monday post and Sarah Fine’s blog, The Strangest Situation!

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23 comments on “Mental Health Monday–To NaNo or Not To NaNo, That Is the Question

  1. Sarah says:

    I’m not that into NaNo, but I totally get the allure. I think NaNo is good if the timing is just right, but the last few years, I’ve been right in the middle of something else and not in the right place to hammer out a first draft right at that time.

  2. I’ve never done it but I can see the appeal of the challenge, i’m just not sure you’d get your best work done udner that pressure.

  3. kendallgrey says:

    I’m going to try it again this year. I’m not super competitive about stuff like this, so if I don’t meet the 50K goal, it’s no big deal to me. I’m much more interested in writing something *good* than writing a lot of crap.

  4. Karen Lange says:

    I’d only mildly entertained the idea of doing NaNo, but now you have me thinking…I need to get an important project out of the way. If I can do that, then maybe…:)

  5. Lynn Rush says:

    Game on!!! I’m so ready for Nano. I might write Wasteland 3 or Jaded Rage 2. I haven’t decided yet. And probably won’t until the morning of. JUST KIDDING> well, sort of. LOL. We’ll see what happens as the day draws near.

  6. My track record with NaNo isn’t too hot. The first time I tried, I didn’t finish my 50k, but I eventually completed the book. The second time I did complete the 50k – but that’s as far as I got. It needs a massive rewrite already. It was fun at the time, though.

    At the moment, I have waaaaaaay too much going on to think about NaNo. 🙂

  7. Love NaNo. Can’t wait. For me there’s nothing like collectively charging forward with hundreds of thousands of other writers. I guess ultimately I’m kind of a herd animal? I do think planning ahead is a big part of not writing total crap…so I’m outlining and thinking about my story and doing research now.

  8. Mike Offutt says:

    Nano really isn’t my thing. I have enough discipline to write when I want to that I don’t need to prove it through a contest like this.

  9. Lydia K says:

    My timing is always off! I would like to do it sometime when all the stars are in alignment for a new story to be born. Good luck with your Nano project, I’ll be cheering you on!

  10. Elizabeth Arroyo says:

    I’m kind of terrified to starting Nano. Not sure If i’d be able to handle the pressure.

  11. Kerri says:

    I need to NaNo. It shuts off my internal editor and forces me to just write. Even if it stinks, I learn more about my character. Heck, don’t all first drafts stink and get hacked to death anyway *grins*! Love the NaNo posts. I’m getting excited now!

  12. ha ha are you implying that those of crazy NaNoers have mental issues? (mental health monday)… just kidding!

    I’m all for the pros list, NaNo just seems to suit me really well. I work so much better with a big challenge to meet.

  13. Rusty Webb says:

    I love nano myself. I don’t think quality must suffer that much though. Writing 1667 words per day is not an unfathomable task. If you have an idea of what you’re writing about each day it shouldn’t be too taxing. It can be good, really.

  14. Ciara Knight says:

    I’m so into NaNo, unless I have to edit for my publisher during that month. 🙂 I’m going to sign up.

  15. julie f says:

    Awesome post–and so very true. I’ve never done NaNo, the stars never seem to align to makes me confident that I have the time. Although maybe that’s the point of it–to force me to fiind the time. I just might have to do it.

  16. I want to do NaNo, I’m just not sure I can do it. I’m not sure I’m up to the challenge. I’m still debating.

  17. I’m not going to be doing it because: 1. I’m busying editing my wip, and 2. I haven’t finished planning my new project. And there’s no way I’m writing the first draft until I’ve finished the planning. 🙂

    Good luck to everyone who will be participating this year.

  18. J E Fritz says:

    I’m leaning towards no NaNo this year. I had a lot of fun with it last year, but then I had a DO reason: an idea I wanted to work on. Plus I’m editing something, in other words, I’m focused on quality, not quantity (you really did word these well). Of course, last year at this time, I was in exactly the same position, but then an idea struck…

  19. aparnanairphotography says:

    What if English is only your fourth language and therefore you’re questionably proficient at it, PLUS you still “don’t see no” major issues with using double negatives (*gasp* The horrors!!!) in your sentences and your sentences are all run ons and I’m tired today and wish that dinner could just cook itself?

  20. Vicki Tremper says:

    For me, this is a challenge I have considered for a couple of years and I’m finally in a place to take it on. Good luck all of us NaNoers!

  21. Linda Gray says:

    This is sooo excellent, Laura! I scrolled down and watched the two videos, too. Hilarious and on target, both of them. I’m struggling with this decision right now. Am wrapping up revisions and hoping to get queries out last week of October (and procrastinating at this very moment by watching your videos), and just don’t know if I’ll be able to pull it together for NaNo. But I’m with the Puff guy, it’s a great way to have discipline and allow yourself to ‘suck’ at the same time–priceless for a writer.

  22. Carol Riggs says:

    I haven’t ever done NaNo and don’t feel the need to (I always finish my manuscripts and write every day when I have a novel in the works). However, I know it really works wonders for other writers. The sense of accomplishment for writing every day, the staggering # of words written by the end of the month. Good luck with it!!

  23. kmcambion says:

    I’m doing NaNo. I’ve done it nearly every year since 2002 (the exception is 2007; I sat that year out for mental health reasons).

    Why do I do NaNo, even though I’ve “won” it before? Because it’s time to do my zeroth draft of something. I can get the bare bones of a work out, play around with what needs to be done for it, and cram it with all kinds of ridiculous porn when I get stuck.

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