It is already five days into National Novel Writing Month and I don’t have much to show for it. Another National Novel Writing Month “competition” has arrived and I am, once again, most likely not going to have fifty thousand words written by the end of the month. In all likelihood, I will abandon the novel I started planning a few months ago but only really decided upon a few days ago, and I will not look back upon the text until next year, when I wonder what I have been doing for the last eight years.

Every year, I come out with a new idea. I think it over and come up with a plan for how I am going to write a certain number of words per day and it is going to yield a great number of words by the end of November. It all starts going downhill on the first of November — specifically around bed time on the first, when I realize that I haven’t written anything.

I therefore recalculate the days — how many words I will have to write every day to meet a good number of words by the end. This can often repeat for a few days, with no words actually being written. There is always something that somehow prevents me from getting a full day worth of writing done. The further along November continues, the more stressed I feel that I have not written enough words. The longer I think about how few words I have written compared to how late in the month it is, the more I feel like putting off writing and the worse I ultimately end up feeling.

Over the years, I have tried writing a number of different sorts of novels, depending on what has interested me. The first year I attempted National Novel Writing Month, I went for a sort of “slice of life” story based on how I had gotten my heart broken in Australia. I certainly tried to write that one and poured my heart into it but fell short at around thirty thousand words. In the years that followed, I kept on trying to meet the goal but never made it. Some years got me closer, and some got me only a couple of thousand words by the end of the month.

This year I am trying out different software packages that people claim will be able to help a person write their National Novel Writing Month novels. I am trying to be hopeful but with so many years of failure behind me, it seems most likely that I will not succeed. Whether or not this ultimately means that I will manage a second novel in my lifetime (my first novel, Kate, took far too long to write) has yet to be determined.


  1. David,

    I write even without the event. However, I sort of see it like a writer sporting event. Runners run even without a marathon. However, having a marathon there lets you challenge yourself and see if you can run those 26.x miles. Having the NaNoWriMo lets me see if I can write those words in that time period.

    I really see it more as a fun exercise.

      1. I have tried every year for the last 8 years. I have thusfar finished not at all. However, some really nice short stories have sprung forth from the seeds I planted while working on it.

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