Saying “No” to NaNoWriMo

This post, by Steven Ramirez, originally appeared on his blog.

As I write this there are thousands of other writers around the world, madly slaving away at their novel in honor of NaNoWriMo. For those of you who are not in the writing trade, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. Here is an excerpt from the “About” page on their site:

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000-word (approximately 175-page) novel by 11:59:59 PM on November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

So that’s fifty thousand words in thirty days or 1,666.666666666667 words per day. Yeehaw! Well, guess what. I’m not having it.

That’s right. I refuse to participate. Why? It’s not because I don’t respect anyone who has the discipline to write nearly seventeen hundred words a day for thirty days straight. And it’s not because it wouldn’t be fun to see if I could create a story from start to finish in that time. And it’s certainly not because I wouldn’t be able to boast in some future tense that I created my bestselling masterpiece in thirty days. No, my reason is much more prosaic. I don’t have time.

It’s All About Priorities
I actually considered participating in this year’s contest. I’m a member of several writers groups which give out daily encouragement to those foolhardy enough to attempt this Herculean task. But you see the thing is, I am into the second draft of my zombie novel and at seventy-five thousand words it really isn’t long enough to begin with, which is a never-ending source of agita. In addition I have committed to posting regularly on this blog and am doing my best to market my published works via Twitter and Facebook. On top of that I regularly offer my time to other writers for anything from marketing and social media advice to written critiques of their works in progress.

Not that I’m complaining! I love what I do.

Looking at the problem practically, however, I would essentially have to put everything on hold for thirty days in order to participate in this contest. But if I want my book ready for publishing in the spring—or let’s face it, summer— I simply can’t afford to take a month off.

What Happens on December 1st?


Read the rest of the post on Steven Ramirez’ blog.