NanoWriMo: What It Is And Why I Participated

NaNoWriMo is a funny-sounding acronym for National Novel Writing Month. Implemented in 1999 and continuing annually, NaNoWriMo began as a challenge to write 50,000 words of a novel in thirty days beginning November 1st through November 30th.

Say what now?

Write 50, 000 words in one month? Have an actual rough draft, or at least the making of one in 30 days??? That sounded cray cray to me, so of course, I had to see for myself if this was a real thing and what all of the social media hype was about.

The procrastinator.

The blogger who will go an entire month without adding a single post.

The chick who waited until the night before to study for final exams in school.

The driver who legit waits until the tank is not at half or even one-fourth capacity, but until the car is literally on fumes and knows she still has 17 miles past empty to make it to the gas station and refuel.

I decided to jump in and give it a go, knowing that it might be the single greatest feat I would accomplish this year.

Before I get to the results, let me explain a little more about the organization. NaNoWriMo officially became a nonprofit in 2006, and its programs encourage writing fluency and education. The website hosts over one million writers and serves as a social network with author profiles, personal project libraries, and writing buddies. NaNoWriMo tracks words for writers in the same way that Fitbit tracks steps, and hosts real-world writing events from Mexico City to Seoul, to Milwaukee with the help of 900+ volunteers in thousands of partnering libraries and community centers. I know, epic, right?

I knew going into this if I stood any chance of having a first draft of this story (that’s been replaying loop after loop in my head for quite some time) that some MAYJAH changes would need to take place. For me that meant quieting as much noise as possible, i.e. backing away from Instagram and Twitter.

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So, that’s where I’ve been for the last month and the only thing responsible for my final word count is NOTHING but God at work. I prayed for words and the strength to see this through, whether I reached the goal or not.

My parents visited for Thanksgiving and got here on the 4th. They left on the 28th. Do the math, would you? Two 80-year-old adults in the crib plus having to pitch in to help with Jaxon more (due to his parents’ work schedules) meant that I traded one distraction for another. Or two or three.

Did I make the 50, 000-word count? No, I did not.

Am I disappointed?

Not at all. On my last official entry (November 24th) I entered 35, 890 words but actually wrote a total of 36, 774 words by November 30th and couldn’t be happier.

Do you understand the significance of this? I don’t know that I’ve written that many words all year on my blog and this fact alone tells me two things. One, without certain distractions vying for my attention and time, I can singularly focus on a major goal and get stuff done. Second, all things are possible with Him.

I wasn’t taking any meds for anxiety or depression either. There were a few days when I seriously longed for quiet, feeling that my creativity was stifled (*cough cough*) and yet I still managed to eke out a few hundred words in spite of… Also, this is not me suggesting that anyone (who is managing their mental health) stop taking prescribed meds and rely solely on faith, I’m honestly just sharing what my experience was. Do whatever it takes and works for your mental wellness and overall productivity. Period.

I’m still writing and using the remainder of December to finish this first draft and it feels so good to be able to say that and mean it. I’ve attempted writing stories for years and haven’t made this much progress. That’s major. Would I participate in NaNoWriMo again? Absolutely. It’s an admirable organization and challenge for creatives, young and old, to flex their chops—- supported and encouraged by other writers.

It doesn’t matter if you write 500 words or 50, 000 words, the point (if you desire to accomplish this goal) is simply to have faith and take the leap.


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