Why NaNoWriMo Would Never Work For Me


I run a private Facebook group for aspiring authors and illustrators. You might have heard of it (ahem). It’s called The Duck Pond. Hop on my mailing list if you’d like to join.

I also run a private Facebook group for those who are doing my online course, Scribbles.

I love both groups equally and I can tell you now, I learn as much from them as everyone else.

I’ve noticed lately that in both groups there are lots of Duckies and Scribbs doing NANOWRIMO.

I lurve the enthusiasm and energy NaNo generates. Lurve.

AND it works.

It gets people off their arses (metaphoriacally) and onto their arses (literally). They WRITE.

They really do!


You know how everything after BUT is bullshit? Well, this is not BS so read on.

I could never, ever do NaNoWriMo.


Not because it intimidates me or because I’m so cocky I think I don’t need external motivators.

I couldn’t do NaNo because writing that fast would make me really, REALLY miserable. And it would confuse the hell out of me.

I write slowly.

For me, writing a book is like playing a game of chess.

I have to consider every move, every scene, every character, from all angles, before I push my pawns forward.

If I were to rush, everything on that board would be a smoking mess. A bombsite of crappy ideas, shallow, haunted-looking characters standing around saying, ‘WTF? Where are we?’ It would be a disaster.

And worse.

I wouldn’t know how to fix it.

That’s the scary part.

I can’t fix things I don’t understand. I would NOT understand that kind of literary bombsite.

Here’s me with some new characters. It’s gonna take a while to get to know them.

My approach to fiction is this: write scenes quickly, write books slowly.

I write scenes quickly because I’ve done the thinking and the rewriting and the backtracking and looping and the experimenting.

I’ve sat inside my story for months, sometimes years, before I ‘officially’ start writing The Book; well before I tackle each scene individually.

Because I’ve been in the world for ages, when the scenes finally do unfold they unfold quickly.

But the book comes together slowly.

I’m not an advocate for endless plotting and planning. No way, Ellie May.

I’m an advocate for thoughtful writing.

That’s all.

If NaNoWriMo works for you, I’m clapping my hands and singin’ praise be! You’ve got this and that’s awesome. Truly.

But if it doesn’t work for you, I’ve got your back.

I totally understand.

We’ll creep forward together, okay? Slowly. Patiently. Warily.

As you were.

Jen xo

Featured image by Lucinda Gifford from my novel, The Fourteenth Summer of Angus Jack.

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5 Replies to “Why NaNoWriMo Would Never Work For Me”

  1. Oh! Me too, Jen. Me too. I jumped for joy when you said you aim for 500 words a day. I love doing the 30-minute writing sessions. I usually end up with only doing one session a day. And I sit and let the story percolate until I know it. Then I write the scene. Thanks, Jen

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