What NaNoWriMo Means to Me as a Professional Writer

When I first took the NaNoWriMo challenge back in 2005 I was worried. Worried I didn’t have the right (or is it write?) stuff to succeed. I had just spent seven years completing my first novel. How could I possibly write another (albeit shorter) novel in just thirty days?nanowrimo

I did my research – I read everything I could about NaNo – including strategies on how to win. I also saw a lot of the Poo Pooing some of the professional authors of the day were doing. “Only junk can be written so quickly.” “It is a waste of time.” “Just a bunch of wannabes pretending to be real writers.”

Those were only a few of the negative comments I saw.

I competed anyway and, twenty-two days into November, I had my first NaNoWriMo “win”. I met a lot of friends along the way and I learned I could write quickly when I put my mind, and my fingers, to the test.

Was the novel perfect? Hardly. Was it junk? Maybe a little. But then, most first drafts are junk, regardless of who you are.

Five years later, after much revision, some heartache and soul searching, I managed to sell that first NaNo novel.

What I have come to realize in all the time between now and that first NaNoWriMo was, yes, I was a wannabe writer then. But, EVERY professional writer today was a wannabe at some point in their careers. We all start as amateurs. Some talented, some not. It’s not the talent that helps to become professionals quite as much as the work ethic and determination to succeed.

In the past eleven years I have learned that all those negative comments are refutable. Why they were made in the first place is anyone’s guess. I just know NaNoWriMo has been a valuable tool for me and for many other writers. And it will continue to be so.

If you have let negative comments dissuade you from trying, throw them to the wayside and get to it. Today is only the second day of November. You have lots of time. And when you are done, put your writing aside for a few weeks so you can back and read it with fresh eyes.

I think you will be glad you did.



  1. I’m glad I did it. You are actually the reason I tried it. You just asked me if I was going to do it. I thought it was crazy, but something made me give it a try. I got to 50K words on the 28th. I loved it! It was also my second novel and while I didn’t finish it at 50k I was close to and it showed me how fast I could write when I put my mind to it. I love NaNoWriMo. I’m doing it this year! Thanks again for the initial push!

  2. I am ready to do NaNo again. Just not this year. I am way to inundated in mid terms and final exams every week and must concentrate on my studies. Perhaps next year or the year after. I’m so happy for you. You have done what I strive to do (and it will happen). Keep on keeping on!!

  3. Hey there! So glad to hear from you. I certainly understand priorities and school should be a big one. Keep working at your writing and never stop and you will absolutely make it. 🙂


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