To NaNo or Not to NaNo?

If you’re reading this blog post, you’re probably already familiar with National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short. (If you aren’t, NaNo is an online challenge where the basic goal is to write 50,000 words of a novel during the month of November. There are also Camp NaNoWriMo sessions in April and July with looser rules.)

Right about now is the time of year when everyone starts announcing their NaNo projects and posting cute pictures of their desks for #nanoprep, but as of lately, I’ve been on the fence about the whole thing.

As some of you might know, the novel that I’m currently working on was originally a story I started during a Camp NaNo session, but I had never tried NaNo proper until last year.

A Nanotoon by Errol Elumir

It didn’t go well, but it wasn’t a flat-out failure either. I managed to fight through a worsening mental health crisis and write about 20,000 words last year, so I know I can complete the full 50k and get the winner’s completion bar if I put my mind to it. That being said, I’m taking six advanced classes at school and participating in five different clubs.

And that’s not to mention that it’s my junior year in high school, so the college search is a thing.

That being said, NaNo is also awesome, and I don’t want to miss it this year! Not only does the challenge force me to build a writing routine that I can keep using in some form during the rest of the year, but the website is a great place to meet like-minded people. (I just have to make sure that I don’t get lost checking the forums!) And of course, having something written is better than nothing.

But starting a completely new draft? And writing 50,000 words? In 30 days? In high school? That’s quite an animal to deal with, even with experience.

So, what have I decided to do?

I’m still doing NaNo.

But not the traditional way.

I’m well aware that I don’t have the time to complete the first draft of a new novel from scratch this year – not with three AP courses and my school’s college advisor breathing down my back.

So I’m going to break the rules and use November to write the second draft of my book.

That’s right. I’m a NaNo Rebel this time around.

I’ve been putting off edits on my novel because of my course load, so even if I don’t win NaNo this year, I’ll have forced myself into an editing habit, which is what I need. Winning NaNo isn’t the important thing, and if you ask me, it really shouldn’t be. The most important part of NaNo is being able to build up a writing habit, and as long as I add to my Word document’s word count a bit every day, that’ll be enough for me.

But hopefully I’ll actually hit 50k this year.

What about you guys? Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? If so, are you going the traditional route or are you a rebel? Let me know in the comments, or shoot me a message on NaNo’s website!

Happy writing!

~~ Mandy

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Hi guys! I'm a 17-year-old nerd with a passion for the written word. When I'm not on here, I'm probably sleeping, binge-watching YouTube, or perhaps actually writing. For more of me, follow me on Instagram (@ahberryhere)

9 thoughts on “To NaNo or Not to NaNo?

  1. As a junior with three AP classes, I’m doing almost the same thing–I’m going to try to add 30,000 words to my novel I’ve already started. It’s going to be difficult–even with this lessened goal–because I’m in the school musical and tech week is five hour rehearsals each day, but I’m going to try!

  2. Wow, six advanced classes, and JUNIOR YEAR. As a freshman with 3 advanced classes I thought this would be hard enough. Sounds really tight :8 I’m glad you’ve explored options though. Nothing wrong with tackling the second draft. Good luck! You got this!

    And I’m glad that I’m finally getting into this NaNo thing. It’s so exciting 😀

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