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NaNoWriMo: Are you ready?

We're a writing blog; so naturally, we LOVE NaNoWriMo. The mad scramble for daily word count; the haphazard plotting (or not plotting); the questions posted to the NaNo website ("Can someone please tell me the difference between a dagger and a dirk??) - we love it all.

But, there are some people who just can't do NaNo. Not because they're bad writers; their creativity just doesn't mesh with the mad dash for word count. And that's ok!

Here are some few signs you might not be ready for NaNo this year.

1. You have a half-finished novel.

NaNoWriMo is meant for writers who are just starting their novels. If your novel isn't quite finished during November, maybe you should work on preparing it for December - which is, unofficially, National Novel Revising Month. :)

2. You are stressed out by deadlines.

Some people (*cough*me*cough*) are actually more stressed than liberated by the idea of pounding out 50,000 words of unpolished drivel in one month. That's alright! There are other ways for you to motivate yourself to write without this kind of daily deadline hanging over your head. For example, try out, or find yourself a critique group who can hold you accountable.

3. You are a brand new writer.

Some people might disagree with me on this; but I personally feel that, if you're working on your very first novel, it's important for you to take your time and enjoy the process, the world-building, and the character development that comes with it. It's a wonderful, creative experiment that deserves your attention and a pace you are comfortable with. But, again, everyone is different! Maybe the breakneck pace of NaNo is a good way for you to try out your writing skills. :)

Every writer is different, and every writing process is different. This November, find out whether NaNo is a good option for you. And if you do decide to try out NaNoWriMo, make sure you sign up for our newsletter!
Kristin Briana Otts

Kristin is an aspiring YA author with an abiding love for her dog, ghost hunter tv shows, and rainy days.

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  1. My first NaNoWriMo was TECHNICALLY as a "new writer." I think it's a big different for me though because I have been working on the world surrounding the novel for over ten years. I don't think there are many people that have that behind them.

    This will be my six NaNoWriMo, if you count the Camp NaNos as well. I'm outlining today, and I'm super excited to write Novel Numba Six. Especially since my co author, my fiance, will be my husband by the time NaNoWriMo comes along. <3

    1. That makes a lot of sense, Rachel! I think it definitely helps when you plot the novel beforehand.

  2. I have not ever officially written a novel but do not consider myself a new writer, either. This is my fourth NaNo, but I have never actually finished. Trying to do some outlining this time, though. I don't usually outline. Here's to all of us going at it again this year.

    1. I usually don't outline either. This is my year to try something different as well. :)

  3. I'm not in this year cause I'm in the midst of revision to my 2009 nano novel, per a letter from an editor. Woohoo! Revising, right now, is really fun. I've done 4 Nano's and finished three and I consider it a wonderful experience.
    Susan at Pen and Ink

  4. I really like this post. As much as I really want to do NaNo, even if I could I don't think I'd be ready to do it quite yet. As a new writer I feel this time needs to be spent, as you said, going through the process, the world building and the character development... and everything in between. I'm enjoying that process, and while I hope to do NaNo next year, for now I want to just enjoy the feeling of writing my first novel.

  5. I'm ready for NaNo, but not for the same reasons as everyone else. Each year I've tried to complete NaNo, I've cracked under the pressure of deadlines and meeting the daily word count. This year, I plan on using it to help build the multiple novels I'm completing; this way, even if I don't hit a 50k word count on any of them, I'll still be content that I've chipped at the block.

  6. I don't think #1 is true. You can still participate in NaNo even if you're working on an unfinished draft; you just don't count anything you've written before November 1 and instead of trying to write a novel from scratch, you can just add 50,000 words to your manuscript in November.

    1. I think it's technically cheating - but that's what I'm planning on doing this year. I have an outline and I'm about 60k in to a draft that looks like it might end up around 120k (oh god). Then I'll need to spend December cutting it down to a reasonable size!

    2. Well, I don't think they like to call it "cheating" as such [which would be outright lying about your word count] but it's considered being a Rebel, which they have an entire forum for.

  7. I was sort of a new writer when I joined NaNo last year - it was the first time I was attempting to write and finish the first draft of a full-length novel. So as a new-ish writer I thought it was brilliant! It really helped me gain a sense of routine and dedication. It was fantastic for helping me gain time management skills for writing.

    I loved it last year and I'm so excited for NaNo 2012! I haven't outlined and planned this time around. I learnt from last year how things easily change or evolve in edits so I'm trying to stick to a basic summary. That way I don't end up with tons of crossing out in my notes and re-planning. Going with the flow this time!

  8. I would consider myself a new writer when I first did Nano a few years ago. It showed me I did have it in me to write a book. I spent almost a year revising it, and learned a ton. Even though that's shelved for now (I think it makes a better short story than a novel and may return to it someday) it gave me something to start with. I knew nothing of plotting though, so it was kind of a mess to edit. Now that I've spent a good two years studying the craft I think Nano might work better for me. I think it's just a different experience depending on where you are as a writer.

    Thanks for the reminder, btw. If I'm going to do Nano,it's less than two weeks away!!

  9. I'm really excited this year about NaNo too, Kristin. I write YA also but I write more Nicholas Sparks style YA love stories and I'm dabbling in thrillers too. My biggest problem was keeping from being distracted by the Internet instead of writing, that's why I created a software that actually prevents me from getting on the Internet at all until I've finished my word count for the day. I can easily write several thousands words a day without Facebook checking. I'm letting people beta test it if you want to try it:


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Item Reviewed: NaNoWriMo: Are you ready? Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Kristin Briana Otts