3 Reasons To Quit NaNoWriMo

Finally, I have the free time to take up cliff-diving.

That whooshing noise you just heard? That was the halfway point of the month going past. Which means, for thousands of writers around the world, they’ve either hit their the halfway point of their story or are behind and wallowing in despair.*

If you are one of the latter—or even if you’re not—you might be wondering about the viability of continuing. I have said it before and I’ll say it again: NaNoWriMo is not for everyone. And that’s fine. Don’t get caught up in the hype generated by the NaNoWroMo True Believers. For one thing, they’ve become increasingly crazy as the month has progressed, and are likely to continue down that caffeine-buzzed path for the next two weeks. For another, if they thought it would help their word count, they’d knock you down and suck your brain out through your ear.

Here are some signs that your NaNo experiment is failing:

1. The stress is ruining your love of the book. If the stress of meeting a 50,000 word target is making you hate and/or resent your story, it’s time to stop. You shouldn’t hate what you’re doing. There will be times it’s frustrating or difficult, but consistent hate is probably a sign something you’re doing isn’t working for you. Don’t stop writing, but stop writing to meet someone else’s goal. Make your own instead. If that’s 500 words a day, fine. If it’s 100, that’s fine, too. Just ready yourself for a longer timeline to first draft and beyond.

2. You’re starting to hate writing. Not just your book, but all writing. Even a list brings the Spiky Needles of the Hate God to your brain. Like a more extreme version of number one, this is an indicator that something isn’t working for you anymore. Take a break. Or at least stop complaining on Twitter.

3. You’re lying about what you’re writing. No one likes a liar. Or, if you’re going to lie, at least make up something more interesting than how many words you scored** over the weekend. The problem is not so much the lying but what it indicates: you are more interested in meeting an arbitrary goal than you are in actually writing something. Unlike the above two, stopping writing altogether is not recommended, because, let’s face it, you’d probably just continue to lie. Instead, drop quietly out of NaNoWriMo and just write. Don;t worry about the word count.

Or continue to humblebrag about winning that word war while sobbing and eating icing directly from the can. Whichever.

So, who out there is continuing? Who’s stopping? Who never started and looks down on the rest of us? Leave a comment at the sound of the beep. BEEEEEEEEEEP.

*There are also some who have already finished the requisite 50,000 words, but let’s not speak of them. It only encourages them.

**Words are like heroin, right?

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14 thoughts on “3 Reasons To Quit NaNoWriMo

  1. Still going, on track, things are coming together as they usually do for me once I hit the midway point. There must be some sick part of me that thrives on flailing about wildly for 20-30k words before another part says, well, all right, now that you’re in this deep, here’s what we can do with it.

  2. I really liked your post! You are absolutely right about NaNo not being for everyone. It’s my first time participating and I’m a couple thousand words behind on my word count, but I don’t let it stress me. So far it’s still fun, so I’ll continue even if I’m not sure I’ll make it to 50,000.

  3. Am loving my first NaNo. It’s given me the kick up the ass that I needed. It’s benefited my story too. It all comes down to what works for you. I do think you raise some good indicators for when NaNo isn’t working.

  4. I’m still at it, though getting further behind it seems each day. I’ll stay in & get as much written as I can. I’ll be happy either way – nothing written is ever wasted 😉

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