20 Nov 2016

Why I’m Not Doing NaNoWriMo This Year

NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, is an event put on by a non-profit with the same name, in which a bunch of writers get together and write 50K words of a novel by the end of the month of November, or 1667 words a day. It’s a great way to have support, hold yourself accountable while writing, or to have that first draft of your novel knocked out in 30 days.

I did it last year and won (meaning that I wrote 50K or more before 30 days was up!) and I was looking forward to doing it again this year. After some heavy contemplating, I realize that it makes absolutely no sense for me to do NaNoWriMo this year, which really sucks! I really wanted to do it and I’ve changed my mind a few times, but I’m staying firm in my decision. Here’s why I’m not doing it, and what I’m doing to stay active as a writer in the meantime:



So the number one reason I’m not doing NaNoWriMo This year is because I’ve moved to New York. I actually hate that, because I just knew as soon as I moved here I would instantly be inspired by the city and would immediately put pen to paper. But with the move came a hectic living situation (everything’s fine now, but it was hectic at first), and a new job where I’m not getting home to at least 7pm. I’m still trying to adjust to the inner workings of this city and manage my time where to the point where I can write period, let alone a novel, and I’m just getting over a strong case of writers block. Last year this time, I was freelancing + working at a part-time job where I had Friday’s off, so while writing 1,667 words a day was still difficult, it was definitely doable. I didn’t want to throw myself into something as time-consuimg as NaNoWriMo, but absolutely still want to write and focus on getting published. I don’t want to look up a year from now and realize I didn’t write anything or start writing another novel *shudders* but I’m just giving myself maybe until the end of this year to adjust and actually get that novel writing bug back.

I want to continue writing and try to get published in the meantime, so here’s what I’m going to do to make up for not doing NaNoWriMo:

  • Focus on getting my NaNoWriMo novel from last year published: I was starting to give up on this, but after talking to other agented + published authors, I realized I’m not giving this novel a fair chance. I’m going to try and work with a mentor to get this novel even more published than I can get it on my own, and start querying again. I read that if you’ve queried less than 100 agents you like, you’re doing your novel a disservice. So, I need to get back on it!
  • Blog more: getting out of a writers’ block can be a slow process, so I figure writing about writing (ha) on this blog will help me exercise that writers muscle and hold myself accountable to this process.
  • Read more: I’m in a MAJOR reading slump right now, and being a reader is definitely crucial to being a great writer. I’m slowly trying to work my way back into reading more than one book per month again.
  • DO MORE: to write a great book, you need experiences. I had an idea set for NaNoWriMo if I was going to do it, and I’ve already figured out how I could make the idea better, just by experiencing something that happened to me here. I’ve written two manuscripts, and both of them were inspired by very specific events. So, basically it helps my writing to just get myself out there!
  • Plot my next novel: If I feel the urge to start a new story, I have the option of sitting down and plotting my next novel! I’m a plotter, not a pantser (someone who writers without knowing the general direction of the story) So I’d likely do that before writing another story anyway.
  • Find a writers community: When I am ready to sit down and write that novel, I’d love to find some other like-minded writers and have writing + coffee time with them. I also want to take part in more writing/bookish events.

Even though I’m still bummed about not doing NaNoWriMo, I feel like this is a good start. Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? Why or why not? If so, I’d love to hear what you’re working on!


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  • I read this amazing anthology back in February — @wellreadblackgirl: a collection of essays edited by @guidetoglo, written by Black women, on the first time they saw themselves in the pages of a book they’ve loved. I’ve read and loved so many books as a child and have related to many characters, but I don’t think I really saw myself reflected racially in a book until my teenage years (except maybe Jesse from the Babysitters Club books?) For me, I always wanted to feel happy when reading, and the books presented to me about Black girls where always sad and/or dealing with slavery. I knew we were worth having more stories with happy endings too, and that thought fuels my writing to this day. ✨ Do you remember the first time you saw yourself in a book?
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