national novel writing month, or nanowrimo for short, is an online writing project where participants attempt to write manuscripts with a minimum of 50,000 words in the month of november. people who attempt it can cheer one another along and provide motivation and support. the idea is not to complete a final, polished product but rather to get all the words out of your head and onto paper or into a document. the editing process can come later.
i first heard about nanowrimo probably six or seven years ago when david monteith used it to get down first drafts of a few children’s book ideas he had been playing around with for a while. i’ve heard about it in passing from a few others, including flora of flora the explorer, but hadn’t given it a ton of thought until this year.
when the first of november rolled around, i saw something about the project pop up somewhere in the depths of my social media and it piqued my interest. i write a lot, both on here and for various work things, but i had never before kept track of how much i was writing and was intrigued by the idea.
so after a few days of hemming and hawing, i decided to do it. i had a long list of blog posts and pages i needed to work on, ones i had been putting off for ages because i didn’t have the motivation to get them started, and i figured this would be a good way of making myself sit down to work on them. i didn’t think i would necessarily hit 50,000 words, nor did i think i had 50,000 words floating around in my head, but i liked the idea of tracking my word count from various posts and seeing my progress.
i got off to a slow start, and admittedly november was crazy, but in the end i managed to do it, finishing the month with 50,158 words! i got good, solid drafts finished for my end-of-year and 2020 goals posts, and i also finally, finally wrote all the words about all the podcasts i listen to [that page alone is over 7,000 words!]. i also started drafts for about 45 other posts which will keep things flowing on here through at least mid-february if not beyond. i kept a running google doc with my progress, and in the end i wrote 98 pages, which doesn’t even include some things that were done in word docs.
it was a fun project, and like i said i enjoyed having the visual tracker so i could see how many words i needed in a day to stay on track and to see how far from my target i was. it did mean a lot of time spent on my laptop in the evenings and on weekends, and a lot of reading that got left behind because i was laser-focused on this goal.
will i do it again? i don’t know. november 2020 is so far away and who knows what frame of mind i will be in by then. but i do know it helped me come up with some ideas for this blog that i hope to implement next year, and i always enjoy a good goal to work toward.
until next year, perhaps.