Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog–Do You NaNo?

This month, I ask:

If you do NaNoWriMo, why do you do it? If not, why not?

Listen, I had fully intended on doing NaNo (National Novel Writing Month) this year. I signed up. I had my plot 2/3 done. My mind was cooking with great plot twists, conflict, and cliffhangers. I could picture the characters, the setting, even some paranormal tricks.

Then I got sick.

Work got complicated.

“Open” weeknights and weekends got filled.

I got overwhelmed.

It was a tough decision to make, but I have decided NOT to do NaNo this year. Sure, I could use a kick in the pants to get writing again (haven’t worked on a new project since summer). I could even use the challenge to shut off my internal editor.

But I’m not going to.


Well, I’ve done NaNo before (in 2009) and was successful, so I know I can plop down 50,000 words in a couple weeks. Those were my panster days. Super fun, but they left me with uber-long character sketches with little plot to speak of. Scenes turned into rambling concoctions of “this, then that.” “Filler” chapters slogged the middle. It took 100 pages for the story to “get going.” I ended up cutting more than I kept.

Two years later, I’m not so much into plopping as I’m into careful consideration and mindful building of a solid structure.

Okay, so this slows me down a LOT, but I end up with a much better quality draft. And I’m more content.

Your turn to dish. Do you NaNo? If yes, then why and if no, then why not?

Check out Lydia’s response next week!


14 comments on “Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog–Do You NaNo?

  1. Lynn Rush says:

    I love Nano. It’s such a rush writing tons of words per day, chatting it up with other writer friends. I love it.
    But I can see your point. Each writer has to do it his/her own way. It’s all good. 🙂

  2. Those are all excellent reasons for bowing out of NaNo this year. There’s only so much time and energy in our lives!

  3. Lydia K says:

    You are not NaNoing for some really good reasons. Man, steal my thunder, whydontcha?

    LOL! Hope there’s enough free time in this month for you to relax, Chica.

  4. I participated last year, but I just didn’t have a storyline for this year. I need a solid outline and character profiles before I take the plunge to write a novel.

  5. Emily C. Sims says:

    I did NaNo last year, and I’m glad I did, but I don’t think I can do it again. Writing become something of a chore, and by the end of the month I wasn’t enjoying it!

  6. You’ve nailed why I’m not doing it. First, I haven’t finished planning my new project (I’ll be doing that during November). Two, I’d rather focus on quality (but not necessarily edit along the way) verses quantity. 🙂

  7. Yes, I’m doing NaNo again this year. My first time was last year. I used to be a pantser, but like you , found I had to do a LOT of rewrites afterwards. Now I outline first and I find there’s a lot more freedom and a lot less rewrites.

  8. Misha says:

    I am doing NaNo. Because I want to see what I’m capable of. Doorways took 3+ years to draft. My WiP took about a year to finish. I want to see if I can actually finish a workable draft in a month (actually three weeks).

    If it is workable, I have three projects to work on at any given time, which means that I can potentially have three books on query.


  9. Leigh Moore says:

    Two words: Half Nanner.

    I don’t NaNo, but I think setting a time–whether it’s a week or two weeks or a series of Mondays or Fridays–where you will turn everything off and do nothing but write is the best thing any writer can do.

    Sorry you’ve been sick and your life blew up. Take care of yourself, and then set a more realistic goal for you! :o) ❤

  10. Kendall Grey says:

    I figured out that I, too, am a plotter, after 3 years of thinking I was a pantster. I wrote out a 10K outline for this year’s Nano story, and only got about 1/3 into the story. As I’m now writing it, I realize that the detail I put into the outline has fleshed out into WAY more chapters than I anticipated, and I’ll have to work out the rest of the plot once I see how the beginning pans out. This will call for some readjusting along the way, but I’m okay with that. Sorry, rambling!

    I’m Kendall_Grey if anyone’s looking for a buddy. 🙂

  11. Sarah says:

    Whoa, Laura, so sorry to hear this–I really thought you were going whole hog this year, what with all the useful posts about NaNo! That being said–yep, it’s just a 30 day span that you can use or not, depending on what you need as an author. Nothing sacred about it, and you can keep plotting–and then writing–when the time is right.

  12. I NaNo-ed last year but won’t be doing it this year. Last year I became painfully aware of the fact that I am a slooooow writer, and I have accepted that. I need to write at my own pace, instead of forcing myself to mash out disconnected words and risk burning myself out. November is also a busy year for me; apart from lots of birthdays (including mine), I get to meet and train with one of the top Wing Chun instructors in the world every November. This takes up at least a couple of days, not to mention the busy-ness leading up to the meeting, AND afterwards, the busy-ness leading up to X’mas.

  13. […] Check out Sarah’s Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog post on whether or not she Nanos. Then review Lydia’s and mine. […]

  14. I love NaNoWriMo. Good quality can wait for the second draft.

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