Chapter 146 – Debunking NaNo Myths

As much as I love NaNo, I know it’s not for everyone. I also know there are quite a few misconceptions about NaNo so, since there’s still plenty of time to participate this year, I’m here to debunk some myths!


1. Writing fast = writing trash

I’ve heard many people say something like “I don’t do NaNo because I want to write something that’s actually good” or “NaNo only fits people who write trash.”

Those people couldn’t be further from the truth.

There are nearly 400 traditionally published books and over 200 self-published books that started out as NaNo novels (see list here)!

Were they published straight after November? No, but the majority of published books go through several rounds of revision and editing anyway. Experience can help you write cleaner first drafts but as most writers know, the true work begins after the draft is done.

2. 50,000 words is impossible to do in 30 days!

It sure sounds daunting but I promise you: it’s achievable!

I failed my first two NaNos miserably but I kept at it, and now I’ve won three years in a row. Coming up with a writing schedule helps and if 1,667 words at once is too much for you, you can split it into sections.

556 words doesn’t sound too bad, right? Fit three writing sessions in your day and the goal becomes much easier to reach.

3. I’m not professional enough to participate

First of all, define real. Second of all, NaNo is for (almost) everyone.

Never finished a novel before? No problem. No intention of becoming a published author? That’s fine. You’ve only ever spent hours typing out school essays? A-okay.

Whether you’re curious about writing, looking to challenge yourself or hoping to find new writer friends, NaNo is for You. There are people from all over the “writer” spectrum so I can guarantee you’re not alone in your situation.

4. I’m too professional to participate

This is debatable. If you’re a professional writer, you’ve probably already figured out the best way for you to write. It can mean writing for a certain amount of hours a day or setting your own word goals.

Good news is, you can still participate in NaNo! If the regular goal seems too easy, you can ramp it up to 100,000 or 200,00 — and some people go even beyond that.

And why not treat NaNo as a way of doing something different? If you’re a professional fantasy author, start a sci-fi sideproject or go rebel and start your first collection of poems. The goal of NaNo is to get you writing, the rest is up to you.

5. My idea isn’t good enough

The beauty of NaNo is that you control the whole experience. If you come up with an idea that interests you, it’s perfect. Some people even juggle a few ideas to keep them going when one story seems stuck.

If you get stuck with your idea, NaNo forums are full of places to ask for help.

Have you run into any of these myths? Are there any others out there I should’ve included?

Also, if you have questions about NaNo, feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to answer!


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