Is #Nanowrimo good or bad?

With November first looming there’s been a lot of talk about National Novel Writing Month in the twitterspheare. (As there is every year.)

Is Nano good, is it bad?

Do you do it, do you not do it?

Why it’s the enemy of writers everywhere.

Why it’s the godsend of all authors.

Every other person has an opinion on poor old Nanowrimo and all that backward and forward makes my head spin!
People on the pro-nano team say that writing alongside so many other enthusiastic peeps provides wonderful motivation for the worst procrastinator, not to mention a sense of camaraderie  between participants who are all slogging away to reach the grand total of 50, 000 words in just 30 days (that’s roughly 1700 words per day). The Nano website sends daily emails on motivation, craft, and author success stories as well as providing forums and a handy dandy graph that tracks your progress — all pluses if you’re pro-nano.


The anti-nano team, however, say that anything written with that much haste can’t be good. That nano isn’t about quality, it’s about quantity. That 50k of utter drivel is worse than no words at all.  And what’s with 50K anyway? The average novel length is 70-100k not 50. Most major publishers do not accept works under 70,000 words unless they’re children’s stories.  Many naysayers also say that winning nano is no achievement. Just getting that draft out there isn’t the end of the line, so why celebrate prematurely? They also think that nano does more to discourage rather than encourage; that writers who set out to win nano and don’t make the 50 then give up and walk away with their spirits crushed. Or if they do win nano, they wind up with a piece of writing that’s an utter mess and completely ‘unsellable’.


I think there are a good points in both sides of the argument. Yes, 50K does not a novel make. Yes, first drafts are unsellable whether they’re written over the course of one month or one year. All first drafts need work to be a beautiful story. They need revision and editing and polishing. Yes, I think nano provides wonderful support and encouragement to what is otherwise a very lonesome and often hard journey.  I also think that the type of writers who naturally draft slowly and do less revision, don’t really understand the other type of writers — those that naturally draft quickly, whether it’s national novel writing month or not and as such probably revise much more deeply than the slow drafters. Nor do they understand those writers who draft 50K of great writing. Fast. Here’s the thing…

We’re all different.

No two writers draft or write in the same way.


We all thrive off different process and maybe, just maybe, we should revel in that. Cause isn’t it amazing?!


So whether you’ll be nanoing or not this year, enjoy November and enjoy your first draft process. It’s an amazing accomplishment no matter how you do it.

Do you Nano?

Stacey Nash (3)Stacey Nash writes adventure filled stories for Young Adults in the Science Fiction and Fantasy genres. She enjoy reading and writing books that have a lot of adventure, a good dose of danger, a smattering of romance and plenty of KISSING!
Her debut novel, FORGET ME NOT, is available now and it’s the first book in a four book series. Book 2, REMEMBER ME was drafted during Nanowrimo 2012! (and revised during 2013)

To talk about books or anything else, catch Stacey at one of these places; website, twitter, facebook, or instagram.


11 thoughts on “Is #Nanowrimo good or bad?

  1. Hi Stacey, great post! Every year I experience the usual sense of guilt but know myself well enough to know that NaNo is not how I roll 😉 I edit as I write and I’m not the type to do massive re-drafts after that first draft. More like refine and polish, then repeat a few more times. To participate in Nano would mean throwing a proven process out the window for the sake of word count and frankly I just don’t see the point. As much as I thrive on a deadline, I can be pretty focused and average 20k-30k per month when I’m in the zone. So once again I’ll be passing on Nano, but I do love the concept of it. I’ve just recognised it’s not the right fit for me.

    • More power to you for recognising that! I think it’s important to realise our own processes and go with what works best for us. I draft fast naturally, NaNo or not, and write without a solid outline. And Nano is much like the pantsing / plotting debate. Numerous plotters have tried to convert me, but if I plot then I can’t write… the words just disappear!
      *High fives* for writing the way that works for us!

  2. I think Nano would be more feasible for me if it weren’t in November. I’m always swamped that month! But I think the camaraderie is fabulous, and anything that encourages creativity is a good thing in my book. 😉

    • November is a crazy month in the lead up to Christmas and end of year! The comaraderie is what I like best about Nano — the hashtag and sprint run by the Nano team are a great place to hang out. 😉

  3. I’ve done a couple of Nanos and see both sides of the argument. Some bits of it work for me, some don’t. But as you say, that’s what makes us all different – and there’s nothing wrong with that! I agree with ST Bende – November is a nightmare of a month for me too 🙂

  4. chiming in very late here, I find the November is a month of madness for me. I have signed up for it in the past and ended up being totally stressed. I do prefer the write in June one and use it to stretch my output.

    • November is a crazy month! I’ve heard Camp Nanowrimo is just as good and runs pretty much exactly the same. It seems really popular too. I’ve never written for it though as the timing hasn’t worked out for June. Glad it does for you!

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