In Defence Of NaNoWriMo

In Defence of nanowrimo


November is fast approaching, which means that NaNoWriMo is just around the corner. I’m sure a lot of people saw my NaNoPrep series.

Unfortunately, with NaNoWriMo comes the condescension and the quite frankly BS from the people who dislike NaNoWriMo. I’ve seen it start a little later than usual this year, but I’ve still seen it.

I am all for NaNoWriMo. I’ve completed it a number of times, and I have published a number of NaNo Novels. One of the big complaints about NaNoWriMo is how is produces sheer drivel, how no one can possibly write a good book that quickly! Oh it’s positively awful, Amazon and the poor agents are just flooded with the dross of the masses.

First of all, a good number of the classic authors wrote books very quickly. Jekyll and Hyde was written in three days, for example. The Boy In The Striped Pajamas was written in two days. Then there’s Asimov, who is considered one of the greatest sci-fi authors of all time, who wrote at a blistering pace.

There are of course the modern books that people adore, such as The Night Circus, which also came from NaNoWriMo. Then, we have the modern indies, such as myself, who write a book a month as par for the course. There are many indies who do that who’re far more successful than me. They have hundreds, probably thousands, of eager fans who adore their work. Their books, which were written in a month or less, have hundreds of very positive reviews.

Tell me again how a good book can’t possibly be written in a month…

Oh but they need rewriting and rewriting and oh so much editing they cry!

Not all of them no. Those same indies I mentioned have professional editors who turn those books around in two weeks and produce good quality, typo free books. My own editor takes longer due to my aphasia, but it is perfectly possible to produce a nice tight first draft in a month. Some of us work that way.

But you’re the black swan, the outlier!

Hardly. Take a look at those indies, the romance genre in particular although there are plenty of SFF and thriller authors who do it too. Look at how many of us there are who do this regularly. It can be done. It takes work, planning, and a good understanding of the craft, but it absolutely can be done.

The majority of those other NaNoWriMo participants don’t care about craft! They just throw out words and drivel for a month!

So what if they do? What harm does it actually do to you? What is wrong with a group of people coming together, supporting each other, making fantastic friends, and doing something they love? There are plenty of people who find their passion and start something exciting and new during NaNoWriMo. Who are you to take that from them? Who are you to decide how people must write and spend their time?

Well it’s insulting to the craft, it’s demeaning the value of writing and books.

And how exactly is it doing that? How is an event that impassions thousands, I believe it’s hundreds of thousands of people, to write, and read, and adore books, demeaning books? Who exactly are you, to dictate how people must enjoy this incredible art? Who are you to define how people must write? Take a moment to look at the huge range of methods employed by the greats, by the classic authors and the modern bestsellers. No two authors are alike, and nor should they be.

NaNoWriMo is mostly teenagers writing sci-fi or fantasy because they have no life experience thus they have to make it all up.

Oh really? Is that so? Firstly, the vast majority of NaNoWriMo participants are over twenty. Secondly, are you seriously looking down your nose on speculative fiction and declaring that only immature inexperienced people write it? You clearly have absolutely no idea how much thought, experience, and work goes into creating entire worlds.

As it so happens I’m in my 30’s, an expat, and have a good amount of life experience. I’ve been abused, almost homeless, had a number of jobs in different fields and so on and so forth. I can name you ten other speculative fiction WriMos who also have a great deal of life experience. So stuff that where the sun don’t shine.

In summary.

NaNoWriMo is not for everyone, but it’s not supposed to be for everyone. Like anything in this bright and wonderful world, some things work for some people, some things work for other people. Variety is the spice of life. To look down on NaNoWriMo and shrug it off with weak excuses is foolish at best, at worst it reeks of control issues. ‘How dare people enjoy something in a way I don’t?’

Yes. NaNoWriMo does produce some absolutely abysmal books. It also brings together a lot of people, some people who may discover an incredible passion and become a fantastic author. Others who for whatever reason can’t socialise normally, are finally able to meet people who understand them and brighten their life. There are hundreds of reasons people do NaNoWriMo. No one is forcing anyone to do it. It isn’t harming anyone. If you personally don’t want to do it, then don’t. Don’t look down on those of us who love it, just as I won’t look down on you for enjoying wearing pink tartan pants and playing golf.


Here are my NaNoWriMo books. Urban Fantasy, and written in under a month. Check them out on Amazon. 

Infernal Hunt Urban Fantasy Series 3 books




23 thoughts on “In Defence Of NaNoWriMo

  1. I’ve never understood the hate that gets thrown at NaNoWriMo every year. NaNoWriMo or no NaNaWriMo there will be people out there writing at various speeds with a huge spectrum of quality in their drafts. People need to stop worrying about how other people are spending their time. The NaNoWriMo hate makes me sad.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow that is terrible that people would look down on any writing community. I am new to this and this is my first time even trying to write 50000 words in a month.
    I am giving it the old collage try and I hope I can do it to my satisfaction.
    However in my eyes even if I don’t finish this challenge at lest I did my best. These haters can’t even say they tried.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I usually don’t officially participate in NaNo (I am this year) because I tend to write at my own pace and schedule (or some months I’m editing and NOT writing, ect). It has nothing to do with writing fast/slow. I actually tend to write at a blistering pace when I DO write.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wasn’t planning on officially doing NaNo this year, but I’ll be writing Seers Stone through November regardless, I figure I’ll make the most of the fantastic atmosphere to push me through 😀 I write at a pretty reasonable clip anyway so that side doesn’t affect me much, I love the community though. There’s such a buzz.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Hear, hear! And well said! The proverbial nail has been hit squarely and fairly on the head here.

    I’ve never participated in NaNoWriMo before, but I think I will write the third and final installment in my Dark Sea Trilogy as part of it this year, as it would be a great incentive to get it out just before Christmas.

    I think it’s a fantastic idea and I thumb my teeth at those literary snobs who dismiss and criticize it. What right have they? You are so right to point out the facts, that many, many writers who work full time at their craft regularly complete first drafts in a month or less – and that some of the greatest literary works have been written in short periods of time. I read a survey someplace that most financially successful authors – independent or third-party published – regularly write a minimum of 2k words a day. So, critics of NaNoWriMo are simply ignorant of the facts. Period.

    The only thing I’d add to your last point in this post, is that so what if there ARE a bunch of teenagers writing fantasy because they have such little life experience? What the heck is wrong with that! They’re exercising imagination, learning to write, expressing themselves creatively, co-operating and communicating – all things so many teenagers desperately need to do. What kind of puffed-up egomaniac would want to stamp down on that?


    But well done, you, for writing this post. Good call!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I completely agree with your point about teens too. In this world full of boxes, any excuse to be more creative, to play with our imaginations should be embraced not shunned.

      Good luck with your project!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Determination, coupled to discipline, regular production and a willingness to fail and learn as you go, are the best recipe for becoming a full time writer. That and a cheerful disposition in the face of adversity! Go for it. Nothing to lose and everything to gain. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t think I realized there were these feelings for NaNoWriMo. I’ve always just considered it a great way to create a daily writing habit and a way of growing the writing community! It’s also about personal choice.
    Personally, I choose to commit to NaNoWriMo because it’s an enjoyable experience for myself and I love getting swept up in the communal spirit of people writing together. It’s nice to feel connected across the globe to fellow writers.
    Can’t wait for November 1st!
    And great post as always 🙂


  6. Hear, hear!! What are people worried about? If I write a book next month and by some miracle it’s awesome right away and does well then go me, but that’s not going to happen. Yes, whatever we’ll produce next month won’t be ready and finished and will need a lot of editing, but that’s first drafts for you! Nothing to worry about at all 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I think so. I don’t understand why they feel threatened exactly. Nothing anyone writes during NaNo is going to be publish-worthy right away. We write a draft, or part of one. We know it will need editing. If some people publish their first draft then I’m sure the reviews will reflect that, and maybe they’ll learn something from it. Honestly, all NaNo does is give us the motivation to really buckle down!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Exactly! I tend to write a book in 30 days regardless of time of year, that’s just how I write. NaNo gives me the extra boost of that amazing atmosphere. It’s a great way to meet new people, to tackle that difficult project we need an extra push for. The community is outstanding!


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