An Opinion on the Lesson of NaNoWriMo

I’ve noticed something. For the first time, I’ve actually got the core to a second manuscript. I’ve almost written a second novel. That’s something I’ve wanted to do since I finished the first novel. (It’s not truly finish because, you know that whole editing and re-editing phase but I digress). For four years, I meandered around on the novel I’d already finished, improving it. (Granted, I admit it needed tons of work). All that time, I continued to think that I’ve got more stories to tell. I’ve got more characters to explore. But I continually allowed myself to remain stuck in that one world, with that one novel. It was easy. Cleaning up an already written bad novel was easier than starting a new story.

After having finished this challenge, NaNoWriMo 2016, the realization has dawned on me for the first time. After going through this process yet again, I finally realized the true value of National Novel Writing Month. It’s simple really, and so obvious. How could we not see it clearly. NaNoWriMo is about sitting down and writing. It’s about forgetting about your fears, your trepidation, and just write something out.

bruceleequote2There are some criticisms to the event, some of which are valid. There are some who would say that the event encourages people to create sub par quality work. Some would even say that writing under a word count goal is counter productive to actually writing a decent story. But now I feel that those arguments do not see the whole picture. The true purpose of NaNoWriMo isn’t the word count or the goal of 50,000 words. The purpose isn’t even to complete a draft.

If you search deeper, the true purpose of the event is to charge people with the motivation to create actionable steps to achieving their goal. The purpose is for all who participate and “win” to realize that by creating habitual progress over the course of time, you completed your dream. You can’t just sit down in a weekend and write a first draft. Honestly, unless your superhuman, you probably can’t write a publishable book in one month. (Again, that whole editing thing). It is a labor of love that you continually invest in over a set amount of time and eventually, art is produced.


NaNoWriMo is about discovering the drive within yourself that allows for you to produce the habits necessary to create the results you need. It’s about creating the habit of writing daily. It’s about realizing that yes you too can reach your aspirations if you just start something and stick with it. What can we all learn from NaNoWriMo? Don’t miss the trees for the forest. It’s all about baby steps. You’ve got to crawl before you can walk.  If you can’t crawl then slide, but keeping moving forward.

Expression your Creativity! And feel free to comment below.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. NeverWriter says:

    I saw this more as a training month. Most time writers write every day and they have word counts and deadlines. This is a good taste of what the reality of writing full time would be like.

    As for subpar, a first draft is never too great to begin with. And, the more you write every day, the better you get. Complaining that people writing in the challenge are putting out subpar work is akin to complaining that a novice musician shouldn’t practice every day, because they can’t play very well.

    Not everyone in the challenge plans or wants to publish. What’s the harm in people writing out a story for a hobby? Mostly harmless.

    I’m not attacking you personally. But I just read a pretty harsh review of the challenge, and I thought it was undeserved. Novice writers are going to write a lot of crap. In the challenge, they are going to write giant steaming piles of it. But over time, it can improve. I don’t see a down side to it.


    1. I believe you misread the post because I agree with everything you just said. The point of the post was not to seem pretentious but to state that the true goal of the challenge isn’t about the word counts or the limited amount of days one has. It’s about just writing no matter what one may think their quality level may be. I certainly don’t think anything I just wrote is publishable right now.

      I do not see how you interrupted this as a harsh review because, for the most part, I was making a case against such harsh judgements of the challenge. However, thank you for your comment and opinion.


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