Join Nanowrimo For The Right Reasons and Goals

51711The first week of April is long gone. Some people had spent the first week with their families in participating in the Holy Week. Some writers at this time are busy because they are included at the Camp Nanowrimo April.


Nanowrimo stands for National November Writing Month. It came from Scott McCloud’s idea that anyone can write a comic for 24 hours if he put his mind on it because he was complaining that his friend is working too slow.

I have two experiences with Nanowrimo and I never won, the first time was in November 2011, I had stopped because my cousin needed my help with her thesis so she could graduate.

She’s an animator and she needed someone to do some of her work in Photoshop. She will draw on the paper, scan them in the computer, and I’ll colour each page of her moving drawings. You could just imagine us losing sleep for days and all l I did was colour. It was tiring but that’s the time where I learned a lot in using Photoshop.

The second time was in April 2013, I gave up because something important and personal came up.

With both experiences, here’s what I can say.

Nanowrimo is not for everyone.

If you want to get published, don’t join Nanowrimo the month before and don’t join when you’re not well prepared.

When I joined Nanowrimo the first time, I started preparing in January. I outlined my chapters, I wrote the list of characters’ personality, and back story and had done all the research I needed for my plot to work, and everything to cover and back-up my story. I just need to write it. Would I have won the competition?

After all, you just need to write 50,000 words. To be honest, maybe yes, since I got to 30,000 plus words, but my work won’t be published. I may have those outlines, but the story was all over the place and I had very poor grammar skills then.

Even if I don’t plan on ever joining again, I still can’t stop myself from reading the details about the competition. If you’re a member, they still send you updates for the upcoming events.

Nanowrimo is a waste of time for people who wants an easy way to publish and earn money.

I’m sorry to break it to you, but once you finish your novel, you still need to revise, edit and you will find it hard to do that with the content for several issues such as:

  • Scattered plots and subplots
  • Inconsistent tenses
  • Poor characterizations and descriptions
  • Grammar and punctuation mistakes
  • Ineffective setting, pacing, and dialogues.

Unlike those other posts, saying Nanowrimo is a waste of time.

It’s not a waste of time at all, Nanowrimo will show you:

  • If you can work under pressure,
  • If you can write fast,
  • If you can surpass your 500 words/day tasks,
  • If you can discipline yourself to write 1,667 words/day,
  • If you can avoid procrastination
  • And if you can write even when you’re not in the mood.

In my opinion, people who should join Nanowrimo are:

  • Published authors of stories, short stories, and novels
  • Writers who are not aiming to get published
  • Unconsciously competent professional authors who’s been published several times and who’s been writing for a long time.

If you want to get win the competition and get published, you should:

  • Be fluent in English grammar and punctuation.
  • Have a well-thought plots and subplots
  • Well-rounded characters
  • Be familiar in writing stories
  • Be knowledgeable about the writing process

My take on writing a novel that is going to be published successfully is, it is a work of art and it should create a long-lasting impression for a long time to the readers.

It’s about storytelling that touches hearts and move mountains. It has meaning, context, subtext, and more. Moreover, it’s writing stories about a character’s life, showing their desires, conflicts, dreams and how a person could reach it. It’s not a marathon.

Going back to Scott McCloud’s proposition. Maybe it’s doable to a professional writer who’s been writing comics for years. He is already unconsciously competent. So you could expect a well-thought and executed product with effort, content, and meaning, but to expect that from newbies. That is unlikely to some. There are specific personalities that will do everything to publish a successful novel.

So beginning writers or newbies, if you’re joining Nanowrimo to win and get published, I wouldn’t advise it. If you’re going to join to determine your strengths as a writer and to challenge yourself, then go for it.

My message to the Nanowrimo staff:

  • Stop inviting writers who are not ready to join the competition unless the goal of writing is just to experience it and self-discovery.
  • Don’t give the new writers false hopes.
  • Don’t set them up to fail at publishing their work.
  • Make Nanowrimo as a way of squeezing the creativity of the writers, discovery of truly writing a story, and it shouldn’t be about winning.
  • It should be about creating stories, while preserving the heart and soul of the story intact.
  • It should be about discovering your strengths and capabilities as a writer.
  • Explain to winners to don’t pass their manuscript on December or May after the competition to editors and agents unless it was revised and edited for fifty times or more.

I have no hard feelings for Nanowrimo at all, and I don’t believe that all writers who join Nanowrimo actually send their work to people without revising and editing, but I know that a number of people had done it.

Anyway, Nanowrimo had taught me some lessons in writing, but I have to insist that I learned more about writing when I joined a writing group.

My articles and story got published because I took the time to learn slowly and with the one-on-one feedbacks I got from other writers.

As a reader, I want to complain about novels that aren’t revised and edited properly. Remembering those books that were published, it looked like the authors haven’t even taken the time to rewrite.

It’s hilarious you could read the poor plots and subplots, characterization, pacing, description, dialogues and worst part are the back stories and resolutions that are not good enough, don’t connect the dots, and don’t make sense. Stories with no deep meaning or content at all. I demand quality on stories, and novels I read.


I love reading novels, especially those books where it obviously shows that the authors took their time in doing what was needed to be done in able to write a successful story. Examples of novels I love are works of Sidney Sheldon, Chelsea Cain, Nicolas Sparks, Keith Ablow, Tess Gerritsen, and Constance M. Burge.

2 thoughts on “Join Nanowrimo For The Right Reasons and Goals

  1. This is an old post, but you shared it on Twitter and I had to as well. I think this is amazing because it’s not something we ever hear about NaNoWriMo. All you hear is “Do it! It’ll be great! It’s something all writers have to do!” But what we really need to hear is what you said.

    I’ve never done NaNoWriMo the way it’s supposed to be done. I’m always in the middle of a WIP come November, so rather than using NaNoWriMo as a way to write 50,000 words, I use it as a way to discipline myself to write and get as much written as I can. Last year I got about 25,000 words written. This year I’m halfway through my WIP and my goal is to finish the first draft. I’m using NaNoWriMo to motivate myself to get to the end because I’m less inclined to be easily distracted by the internet when I’m working under pressure.


    • Thank you for visiting and commenting.

      Maybe it’s not a big deal to the others, but I believe that the newbies joining Nanowrimo should have an idea of what they’re getting themselves into and they should also have healthy expectations.

      Nanowrimo should teach them about the process of writing, hard work, habit, discipline, patience, to never quit, and the process and importance of editing.

      If they joined expecting so much, they’re setting themselves up only to be disappointed or get heartbroken.
      And that setback, will hold them back for a long time and before they start writing again.

      Nanowrimo should open themselves up in the world of writing and inspire them more to keep writing.


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