NaNoWriMo: No One’s Forcing You

Someone from Book Riot whom I’m not even going to bother naming or linking to because it’s just the most riiculous thing I’ve ever read wrote a post on how ‘you don’t have to write that novel during NaNoWriMo’.


NaNoWriMo is a tool.

NaNoWriMo is an excellent time of year for those of us who have no time to write otherwise. It gives us something to explain to those parents, spouses, children, friends, co-workers, why we can’t go out because we’re attempting to write a novel in one month and this is the only time of year it happens.

Or those of us who have ‘been writing’ a novel for years but just can’t seem to finish it.

Giving yourself a set amount of words and a time limit helps.


Not everyone is going to want to do it.

Not everyone wants to write a novel.

But those who do can use the encouragement NaNo can bring.

It’s not easy.

I failed in 2012 when my computer exploded just before Back Up Your Novel day.


I didn’t even both entering in 2015 because I was taking a break from all writing to care for my mentally ill husband.

But every other year I’ve entered, I’ve ‘won’.

In 2010, I finished my first long-form (and trunked) novel in October before I tacked The Edge of Darkness in November. That long-form novel took me six years  to write. The Edge of Darkness took me one month.

I’ve started plenty of novels since then, but I’ve never actually finished anything unless it was a NaNo novel.

NaNoWriMo is something you do for fun.

No one’s forcing you.

In 2015, there were only 431,626 participants.

That’s less than half a million across the world.

Oh sure, it might seem like everyone‘s doing it, but that’s just because you’ve got your foot in the industry. Who’s most likely to be doing NaNo? Online writers, bloggers, book lovers. We encourage social media attention. We blast our climbing word counts from the skies.

And sure, you can quit if you want.


In 2015, only 40,000 made the minimum word count and verified their novels.

40,000 out of 431,626.

And not everyone is a long-form writer. In 2013 I rebelled, and used the 50,000 word count to finish a trilogy of novellas that I’d already started. (It was then I decided I probably wasn’t really suited to really long books anyway, because I burn out after a big project like Storm of Blood.)

No One Has To Read It


I like to publish my NaNo novels. I like my writing to be decent. I don’t word pad or list things or any of the other tricks savvy NaNoers slip into their manuscripts to up their word count. I’m trying to write a decent story with decent language the first time round so it’s easier to edit.

But not everyone wants their NaNo novel to see the light of day, and that’s okay.

Writing can be a chore*, especially when you don’t want to write, but that’s the beauty of NaNo: it encourages you to write every day, even when you don’t want to. And you know what? Sometimes on those days where you really can’t be bothered but you do it anyway, you can end up really enjoying it and writing absolute gems.

And this year I do feel a bit like it’s a chore because with my #supersekritproject I’ve found another way to tell stories that I’m actually enjoying almost more than I am writing my NaNo novel. I’m still loving my NaNo novel, I’m just super excited to launch the new project.

If you don’t want to write a novel in November but you feel that you should, maybe you need to examine why you feel that way.

*Some people say don’t write if it’s a chore, but I don’t listen to them.