Nanowrimo: The Lure of a Bonkers Challenge


Nanowrimo is one of those challenges just crazy enough to lure a lot of people into it. If you haven’t heard, National Novel Writing Month (abbreviated with the first few letters of each word) is the challenge to write a short novel in November, a 30-day month for 50,000 words or more. The month draws droves of people back to their dusty dreams of being a writer, being a novelist, and let’s them really live it.


I’ve only successfully written the 50,000 words on two… maybe 3? occasions. That being said, the past few years, as I’ve tried to get better and better at writing short pieces and essays and blog posts, I’ve given myself a different challenge in the midst of the excitement of November; I challenge myself to write 50,000 words total, on whatever I need to write: sometimes its emails or pitches or notes or freewrites, but every word counts and I aim for 50K.

This year, I got it! This very blog post, written ahead of time and queued for you to see, was part of those words. I like the accomplishment of setting an arbitrary and unrewarded goal and hitting it. It makes me think that I can do a lot more than I do on an average day if I set my mind to it.

One thing I’m all too aware of is that most of the novels written during Nanowrimo are not ever published; they often aren’t very good at all. At the same time, the people who wrote them are a little better somehow: they figured out a good synonym for a word, or they practiced what they’ve been saying for years about how they “love to write,” or they are a little more confident in themselves. I really think it is a challenge that changes people for the better, even if the prose it generates isn’t all that great.

Is there a major challenge you set up for yourself, only to make sure that you are continually pushing yourself? It’s a bit like bravery practice, actually, but perhaps a little different. Feel free to share in the comments.

8 Comments, RSS

  1. blissfullycreating December 6, 2017 @ 3:26 pm

    i heard about this challenge in december of last year and was sad i had just missed it. this year it came time and i was initially excited; but november got the best of me. lol i wrote maybe 5,000 words of my story. I like your take on it though! i wrote tons of future blog posts last month and the whole time i was like maybe i should just count these towards my 50,000 words! i probably would have hit it had i counted like you!

  2. Tammy7711 December 6, 2017 @ 3:49 pm

    I’ve never been a participant before but my best friend won it 2 years! Glad to see you completed it! God bless and keep you! Xx

  3. Patrick December 6, 2017 @ 4:33 pm

    I’ve tried Nanowrimo before. I can’t seem to get the hang of getting organized in October. I spend November trying to get back into writing habits I’ve let slip.

  4. helbergfarmstories December 6, 2017 @ 5:28 pm

    I just heard about it this year. Signed up but never got near it. Life just keeps getting in my way – grr. I had hoped that by this time of my life I would have more time for the things I enjoy – like writing – nope. Still going to try though! Happy thoughts – ha ha.

    • mzukowskiblog December 7, 2017 @ 4:58 am

      As long writing a lot prompted you to enjoy writing more, that’s all that matters 🙂

  5. Cindy Anderson December 6, 2017 @ 6:19 pm

    I am impressed with your goal and your achievement. While I have tried but never succeeded at following the challenge, writing on a regular basis can and does help me slowly improve. Thank you for sharing your thoughts! 🙂

  6. mzukowskiblog December 6, 2017 @ 11:59 pm

    A major challenge I have set up for me is coming this summer. I will lose 20ish pounds and will record it all 🙂

  7. shoes15 December 8, 2017 @ 3:38 pm

    I’ve done NaNo and completed 50,000 words three times. It’s a fun exercise but I skipped it this year because it seems a bit pointless right now. I have three half-assed half-finished novels already. I have tried to revise one and it wasn’t pretty. Maybe someday?

Leave a Reply


Get the latest posts delivered to your mailbox:

%d bloggers like this: