NaNoWriMo: An Update

Recently, Mysterista Mia Manansala wrote about this crazy event known as NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). For those who haven’t heard of it, it’s an online, community-driven event where participants attempt to write a complete novel (or at least 50,000 words) in one month. It’s a wonderful way to push a writer out of his/her comfort zone, write fast and dirty, and build a routine of putting butt in chair, fingers on keys. This is not the time to overthink, edit, or revise as you go – the goal is words, lots of words, down on the screen.

I’ve never won.

November is a terrible month for this.

And yet, here I am, giving it another shot. We’re four days in and I’m actually proud to say I got +1400 words yesterday. Of course, the goal is roughly 1600+ per day, so I’m a wee bit behind, but – I GOT WORDS DOWN! One of the things I love most about NaNoWriMo is that there’s a ton of enthusiasm. Volunteers do a fantastic job of communicating with participants, encouraging local write-ins or online conversations to help motivate and inspire. It’s a month of cheerleading and support for what is usually a fairly solitary endeavor. NaNoWriMo is a great reminder that there’s a whole community of lovely, supportive, encouraging people out there who are enduring the same challenges.

The program has expanded beyond the November event, too. There’s Camp NaNoWriMo in the Spring (April and July), with a less rigorous expectation for word count – you set your own word count goal, but you don’t have to hit 50,000. It’s a great way to stay in touch with your writers’ community and keep that routine going, with a degree of flexibility. The aspect of Camp NaNoWriMo I really enjoy is the cabins. For regular NaNoWriMo you can have a buddy community, similar to the concept of an FB friend. For Camp NaNoWriMo, you can become part of a cabin community, either of your own choosing or you can ask the organization to assign you to a cabin. Either way, it’s another fun option for coming together with a group of people sharing similar goals.

My cabin group has branched out and created an FB group, as well, so we continue to communicate even after Camp is over. I love the on-going opportunity to gather my community around me, sharing successes and challenges, and using the group energy for motivation. This is where social media and technology really add value to life, for me.

I’d love to hear about other virtual opportunities to create writing communities – any suggestions?



Author: Pamela A. Oberg

Pamela is Director, Client Services (Program Management) at an educational assessment company by day, writer by night. Founder of Writers on Words (a discussion and critique group), Pamela enjoys spinning tales of murder and mayhem, with an occasional foray into the world of the paranormal.

10 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo: An Update”

  1. I think one of the most valuable things about NaNo is helping you create a writing routine. Good luck Pam and Mia!

    And I have found Facebook to be a great place to find writing communities. One I belong to has the stated goal of encouraging writers to write 250 words per day. That’s only a page and far less daunting than other goals.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I only did NaNo once a long time ago, and won with 65,000 words. I kinda cheated, though, because it was for two middle-grade books I had already outlined. But it was back when I really didn’t know what I was doing, or wanted to do, so like Liz said, it was great for creating the habit of writing every day. The fact it’s in Nov just makes it that much more challenging. I did it when my kids were young and on year-round school schedules which also meant that I had to have Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving when their 5-week break began. So if you can get regular words in AND take care of family stuff, you can do anything!

    As far as online writing communities, I don’t really have any. I have lots of online WRITER communities, though, which help keep my personal and creative cup full.

    Good luck with NaNo!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I haaate that Nanowrimo is in November. It’s such a hectic month! I’m not too behind (maybe a day’s word count or so), but I feel like I’m slipping further and further behind due to all my commitments. Still, I’m hoping I finally win this year!

    Good luck!


  4. It wasn’t NaNo inspired so much as a completely free day on my calendar. It seems that for the last several weeks, months even, I’ve been focused on helping other people create their books. Today I promised to me. Even though I forgot that promise until about 10:00, I was able to review my manuscript, flag bits that would need further mention in the story (otherwise why were they there in the first place) and write a little more than 500 words. Trust me, that’s lightyears more than I’ve managed lately. It felt amazing.

    I think I might write about that feeling for my November Mysterista’s post. Hmmm…


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