to NaNo or not to NaNo… that’s not really the question

As November looms, many people find themselves squinting tiredly at their schedules and thinking, do I really have time to write 50,000 words? Can I do it without neglecting my other responsibilities?

Some of you have full-time jobs, plus commitments to friends and family. Others, like me, are students whose academic work certainly feels like a full-time job. None of us can afford to slack off on those responsibilities, especially for the sake of a novel you might never publish.

But if you want to write, you do have to commit. You should be writing all the time — maybe not every single day, but certainly not one month out of the whole year.

So the question isn’t really, “Should I participate in NaNo this year?”

It’s, “How much should I participate?”

Realistically, not everyone can pump out 50k words in the busy month of November. That’s okay; don’t feel pressured to neglect the rest of your life for this. But not being able to write 50k doesn’t mean you shouldn’t participate at all. Set a lower, more manageable goal, whether it’s 1k, 10k, or 30k. This means you can’t “win” NaNo, but the real point is to make writing a regular part of your life for a month — if you manage that, that’s all the victory you need.

If you’re even thinking of NaNo-ing, then you should. Don’t let the desire to win blind you to what’s really important — to write. Just to write. 


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