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Should You Write a Novel in a Month (NaNoWriMo)?

Should You Write a Novel in a Month (NaNoWriMo)?

November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, and this past Saturday, writers all over the world accepted the challenge to write 50,000 words of a new novel by November 30th. The NaNoWriMo website offers tips, ways to track your progress, a network of support, and even prizes for those who reach the goal. The focus is completion — the writing itself doesn’t have to be great. In other words,since the first attempt at novel is a vomit draft anyway, NaNoWriMo wants you stop waiting around for the flu and just jam your finger down your own throat.

Sorry. That was probably gross. But the question is, should you participate in NaNoWriMo? Take the following quiz to find out.

November 1st was Dia de los Muerots.  It was also the start of NaNoWriMo.

November 1st was Dia de los Muerots. It was also the start of NaNoWriMo.

#1 What is your background in writing?

A. I have completed at least one novel, and I write on a frequent basis.
B. I talk about writing a lot, and I got an A in my college creative writing class.
C. I’ve written a few short stories, and I’ve always wanted to try writing a novel.
D. I’m always thinking of good ideas for novels.


#2 Why do you want to do NaNoWriMo?

A. It seems like an interesting challenge.
B. If I meet the challenge it will prove to everyone that I’m a real writer.
C. I have a novel I’ve been wanting to write, and I hope this will give me the push I need to get it written.
D. It seems cool, and it’s probably not that hard. Didn’t Kerouac write On the Road in three weeks?


#3 How ready are you to start writing?

A. I have a novel I’m already working on, so I’d have to think of something new for this challenge.
B. I’ve read every blog post I can find about NaNoWriMo, and I have a really good writing group set up.
C. I have an outline of sorts, and I’ve written a few character sketches.
D. I had this dream once that I think would make a really cool novel. Either that or I could write a novel loosely-based on my high school experiences.


#4 How much time do you have to dedicate to writing?

A. I have a weekly writing schedule that seems to work well for me.
B. I broke up with my boyfriend for the month of November so I’d have more time for NaNoWriMo.
C. I can find an hour or two each day.
D. I’m married with kids and I work 50 hours a week. Plus my mother-in-law is coming to stay with us for the month. So I’ll be doing most of my writing at four in the morning.


#5 How do you feel about the NaNoWriMo website?

A. To be honest, I’d rather spend my time writing than trying to figure out the “badges” and whatnot on the website.
B. I love it. I’ve read all their prep resources and been on their forums. I follow NaNoWriMo on Twitter.
C. I’ve created my account and clicked around a bit. I think it’s going to be really helpful when I hit a day of writer’s block or frustration.
D. Wait, there’s a website?


#6 What will you do if you miss a day of writing?

A. I’ll write for twice as long the following day if I can.
B. I won’t. I’ll stay up writing all night if I have to. And if I do miss a day, I’ll punish myself by not eating until I’ve written twenty pages.
C. As long as I stick to my daily writing goals, it should be fine to miss a day here and there. I’ll call them “rest days.”
D. Do I really have to write every day?


#7 How will you feel if you don’t reach the 50,000 word goal?

A. A little disappointed, but if I like what I’ve done I’ll keep working on it.
B. Like a complete failure and waste of space.
C. I hope to meet the goal, but if I don’t I’ll just set a new goal for myself to reach 50,000 words by the end of 2014.
D. Eh, whatever.

National Novel Writing Month.  photo credit.

National Novel Writing Month. photo credit.


If you answered mostly A’s: Although NaNoWriMo might be a fun challenge for you, you seem self-motivated already, and you’ve got your writing habit down-pat. Go for it if you want, but your own system seems to be working pretty well.

If you answered mostly B’s: You like the idea of writing a book in a month more than the book you’re supposed to be writing. Be careful that you’re not spending more time online or talking about your novel than you are writing. Also, lighten up a bit. If writing a novel in a month is causing you too much stress, set your own writing goals.

If you answered mostly C’s: You seem like the perfect candidate for NaNoWriMo! You’ve got your outline and idea, and this is going to give you the push you need to get those words down on paper. Go for it!

If you answered mostly D’s: It doesn’t seem like you’re that serious about writing. You might not have the time or motivation you need to stick to the challenge of 50,000 words in a month. Reassess and consider if this is the right thing for you to commit to.

Rah, rah, rah.  Goooo writers!

Rah, rah, rah. Goooo writers!

And for all those who are participating in NaNoWriMo:  good luck!  Now stop reading this blog post and get back to work!


About evalangston

Eva Langston is a writer, among other things.

3 responses »

  1. Pingback: NaNoWriMo – End of week 1: summary and thoughts | kenthinksaloud

  2. Pingback: NaNoWriMo – End of week 2: Thoughts and round-ups | kenthinksaloud

  3. Pingback: 2014 NaNoWriMo Trashy Romance Challenge: Finish writing Act II | Write on the World

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