NaNoWriMo – Why 50,000 Words Isn’t All It’s About


I’m at Denny’s with my writing buddy, Debbie. I met her 3 years ago at a NaNo write-in and we’ve been meeting weekly since then to write. She has done NaNo every year for 10 years (I think this is her 11th) and has won every single year. Come to think of it, she should probably be the one to write this blog post. This is my 3rd year doing NaNo and I’m geared up to … lose for the third year in a row. And I’m perfectly okay with that – here’s why.

I’m a full-time writer. (I’m also a bunch of other crap, but that’s irrelevant for this post). Like everyone, life gets in the way for me – a lot. I sign up for NaNo every year with the point of using the motivation of other writers writing their butts off as motivation to help me get caught up in my own writing. And it helps – a lot. During NaNo, I may not get my 50k novel done, but I do walk away with a lot more than just the 50k goal. I usually write about 30-40k of edited work. (I edit as I write) Which on a good month, I’m lucky to get 20k in at all. But more importantly, each year of NaNo I’ve walked away with a better understanding of myself as a writer. I usually walk away with a new friend or two as well.


To say NaNo is a challenge is an understatement. We learn a lot about ourselves and sometimes it’s not things we like to learn. Like how easily one can get distracted by Facebook and Pinterest. (The thorn in my side) And, how forcing yourself through writers block is a lot harder than it seems. And… how for some reason, we compare ourselves to the people doing better than us – instead of just seeing how far we’ve come. Hey, that 500 words you wrote in week 1? That’s 500 more words than you had before.

And sometimes, we have limitations we really can’t get past. This one’s hard for me to swallow because I was raised by parents who told me I could do anything I can put my mind to – and I believe it, to this day. So that means, some nights I’m hating my productivity, my work, and everything else that comes across my plate. My limitation I can’t get past? That I can’t do everything and I need to be ok with that.


This year, has seemed especially tough for NaNo-ites. It seems like 2015 has just been brutal for everyone. Loss of loved ones, more battles with depression, hey – the economy is improving (Then why the fuck doesn’t it feel like my bank account is improving?), sick relatives, people being diagnosed with pretty devastating diseases that truly incapacitates them, and on and on and on.


Yet, we’re already working to get through it – we are. Some of us are getting more words done on paper while others are getting through their own demons. We’re learning a lot about ourselves and most importantly, in a world where life is already increasingly difficult, we set out to conquer a mountain of a challenge. I don’t care if you don’t get a single word written, the fact that you looked outside your own comfort zone and said “I think I want to try something different” is already more than most people can say.

writer-moments6If you’re one of those people who are trying NaNo this year and are feeling down on yourself. PLEASE DON’T GIVE UP. You are more than the sum of your words. Leave me a comment and let me know what NaNo has done for you and remind yourself of all that you are.

From, your newest fan.


  1. I adore the clips from New Girl. That’s pure awesomeness. I did Camp NaNo twice in the last year and won, but this November, life is stacked against me. I’m down on myself, I won’t lie. I have one novel languishing awaiting final edits (the thorn in my side is that I suck at finishing – it mentally hurts to finish things) and this new story begging me to sit down and write it despite the thousand things I need to do that are NOT writing.

    All that to say: thanks. I needed to remember that NaNo is about connecting with other writers, not feeling alone behind the computer screen, and pushing yourself whether you get 50k or not.

  2. Thanks for the words of encouragement. I think what I’ve been going through with my life and my writing is reflected in how little I’ve written this NaNo. Last year I was on top of the word count and this year not so much. Since I’ve done it before I remember to not give up and to just keep trying when I can. I hope that working through NaNo will help me work through some of the other problems in my life.

    Whatever happens I will NaNo on.

  3. Thanks for that blog. Right now I actually still have under 500 words that I wrote in week 1 and my parents instilled the same message in me. So… THANKS!

  4. This is one of my favorite blogposts. You are so encouraging and open. Thank you for sharing and caring.

  5. This is exactly what I needed to hear. This is my first year doing NaNoWriMo and I’ve been getting discouraged, seeing how behind I am. But while reading this, I realized just how much I’ve accomplished: over 20,000 words in 17 days! That’s far more than I write any other month. Thanks for the reframing 🙂

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