Creativity · NaNoWriMo · ROW80

Why I’m Taking a Break from Nanowrimo

ROW80 check-in cover

Let me make one thing clear: I’m not “giving up on Nanowrimo:” I fully intend to return to this story in a few days or weeks. I’m also not “quitting Nanowrimo:” that involves a sense of anger and hopelessness, but I’m not either one of those.

Backstory: This is my third year doing Nanowrimo. I love the community, the challenge, the thrill… the productivity. I’ve won twice before, so it’s not like I can’t do it: I’ve done it before. But this year, I’m not finishing. On purpose.

In order to fully understand my decision, we must first ponder this question: why did I choose to do Nanowrimo in the first place? A couple of reasons:

1. Because I like to write and I think it’s fun (But, I like to write short things just as much as I like to write long things. Invalid reason).

2. I wanted to share my story (I’m already doing that here on this blog, and I currently enjoy blogging better than Nano-ing).

3. I always learn an interesting lesson about myself through my story’s subconscious undertones, and I wanted to give my subconscious a chance to speak. *ding-ding-ding,* we have a winner!

This time, rather than learning a lesson from my book, I think I’m learning a lesson from my life. You see, it’s been my philosophy for quite some time now that you can’t force creativity. It just doesn’t work. I’m causing myself a lot of undue stress trying to fit this square peg (writing this specific novel) into a round hole (my desire to blog and draw). The two just don’t work together. Not right now.

And I choose to say that that’s okay.

I hereby choose to liberate myself from the guilt of not fulfilling Nanowrimo. This is not the time, not for me. I wish all you other participants the best of luck with word counts and goals. I will still be writing, but without the unnecessary pressure (pressure can be good and help get things accomplished, but right now, in my life circumstances, it’s just not working). Most importantly, family and friends come first. I will be spending less time introverting and more time with the people I love. The longer I live, the more I realize that I am so blessed, and I can’t afford to miss one more minute.

I will be writing in my free time not because I am being forced to; I will be writing and creating because I love to do these things and to share them with others: it’s a part of who I am.

PS: check back tomorrow night for a deeper reflection on this topic and a neighbor topic I’ve been working on over the past few days. It’s a good one!


4 thoughts on “Why I’m Taking a Break from Nanowrimo

  1. NaNoWriMo is great if you don’t end up with a thousand and one other things to do, and there are lots of people that have all the time in the world to do nothing more than crank out words on a laptop. For the rest of us (people who have other things to do, who don’t want to spend the next six months turning their November’s sow’s ear into a silk purse, etc.), NaNo can be an exercise in futility. I’m glad you’re not giving up on it entirely, but taking a more realistic approach to it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is kind of why I don’t do NaNo in the first place. I won two years in a row, but I decided it wasn’t for me. However, I love to cheer those brave souls on who DO choose to do NaNo!

    It’s perfectly okay to decide not to finish NaNo. Our writing is up to us, not anyone else (unless you have a publisher). This is why I love ROW80. There’s no serious pressure, but there’s encouragement to carry on. Life can get in the way, and we all have to realize that.


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