NaNoWriMo is WRONG!

Or at least, National Novel Writing Month is in the wrong month.

I tweeted this statement earlier today:

I fully support the basic concept of NaNoWriMo which is to just bang out 50,000 words in 30 days, however November is a terrible month to do it. It’s like you’re being set up to fail. First off, it’s only 30 days. That extra 1 day in October or March would be nice. Last off, it’s got a crazy family nut-job holiday smack at the end, right where any god-fearing procrastinator is going to be trying to make up the lost numbers of words he or she needs to get to the 50,000. It’s all well and good to set up a daily word-count goal, but I think people forget that Thanksgiving and the days around it might be a total write-off (Ha! Get it?) when it comes to productivity. Sure, you might manage to get in your writing, and if so, good for you, but then again, you might not. Better figure that into your planning.

If I were doing this, I’d probably be thinking along these lines:

  1. November this year starts on a Friday.
  2. I’m a procrastinator, better write off that weekend.
  3. There’s four more weekends in the month, better assume at least two of them will be overwhelmed by something
  4. I’m a working professional with a child. Can’t conceivably write every day.
  5. Thanksgiving will involve packing and travel and family. Better not even bother assuming I’ll write.

Thirty days minus three weekends, minus Thanksgiving, minus random days during the week when I want to watch TV, carry the two equals…

Eighteen Days.

I think that if I were dedicated, I might manage to peel off some time and accomplish a word-count goal in 18 out of 30 days. That’s 2,777.77 words per writing day. A much more reasonable goal than 1,666.66 which is what you’d have if you divided 50,000 words by 30 days. If you try and make 2,800 words per day, you’ll kill this 50,000 words by the end of the month.

Again, October or March would have been much better choices. They’re thirty-one days long, they don’t have big holidays smack in the middle, and they especially aren’t leading up to the crazy holiday season which just increases a lot of people’s stress anyway, no matter what else your goals are.

And that is my official opinion! I welcome discussion and people telling me I’m full of crap.

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3 Responses to NaNoWriMo is WRONG!

  1. Jeff says:

    Having successfully completed NanoWriMo I can safely say that if you use writeordie.com 1500 words is easy. The most I ever did in a day was 2700. Perhaps having it in November is actually better due to our nature as procrastinators? Ultimately when I decided to do it I couldn’t have done it without something to prompt me. Actually, I think I need to write an editor for my programming that has a write or die interface…. hmmm. Great idea!

  2. Bill Ruhsam says:

    The Write or Die automatically deletes stuff, doesn’t it? That would be dangerous for me.

  3. Steph says:

    I absolutely agree with you on this…November is batshit crazy. I’ve tried many times to pull this feat off and never managed to get there.

    Granted, I am the world’s slowest writer, but the constant distractions of Thanksgiving and holiday ridiculousness make November really tough. March would have been the best choice– it’s mud season in NH, so you can’t ski or mountain bike. Might as well write!

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