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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Why NaNoWriMo Works for Me

Hi, everyone! My name is Linda Ward, but I write as Isabella Norse. I’m thrilled to be a new member of the Fire Star Press family. (My short story, The Nerd in Shining Armor, is a part of the Nine Deadly Lives anthology which was published in October.) I’ll be blogging here the first Wednesday of every month. Since my first post falls in the month of November, I want to introduce you to NaNoWriMo and tell you why it works for me.

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and it takes place every November. During the month of November, writers from around the world come together to cheer each other on as we each strive to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.

Now, don’t let the terminology fool you. The term “writer” doesn’t just mean someone that has already written a novel; it means anyone that has ever dreamed of writing a novel. And, our novels are as different as those of us that write them. Some of us focus on original works while others write fan fiction. It doesn’t matter what you write, only that the words are original to you and that they are written during the month of November. You can’t copy and paste 50,000 words from a pre-existing story. Well, you can, but that would be known as cheating.

I had never heard of National Novel Writing Month until 2011, approximately ten days before it started. I had a story that I wanted to write and thought that I would get around to it someday. That year, I decided that someday had arrived. I threw myself into the process and, at the end of the month, I had a rough draft of my first novel! 

In the process of writing that draft, I learned that NaNoWriMo actually works very well for me. Why? Well, I’m a perfectionist. It’s easy for me to spend a lot of time editing the words that I’ve already written instead of actually getting new words down, which means that a first draft can take me a Very. Long. Time. Successfully completing 50,000 words in 30 days means writing an average of 1,667 words per day. That’s a lot of words, especially when doing this on top of working full time, or going to school, or any of those things that make our lives so full. So, in order for me to reach that goal, I have to bind and gag my inner editor, shove her in a closet for the month, and just write.

Just writing isn’t always pretty. You may be thinking that no two characters should ever be forced to have such banal dialogue or that your action scenes have all the impact of snowmen fighting but… It. Doesn’t. Matter. You have the rest of your life to edit. The point of NaNoWriMo is to simply get the words down no matter how rough they may be. However, a few years of experience have shown me that when I go back and re-read my novel, a lot of the things that I thought stunk royally really aren’t that bad. As a matter of fact, some of it is pretty darn good.

Another reason that NaNoWriMo works for me is because I am a very competitive person. I’m not the type to just sit back and not make my goal while my Writing Buddies blow past me to the finish line. Nope. If I start the race, I’m going to do my best to finish it.

So, have you been dreaming of writing a novel? Well, you’ve still got time to sign up. Just go to and get started. When you get there, look me up, I’m known as RedHeadedViking on the site. We’ll cheer each other on to victory!

Until next month, take care. And, to those of you in the United States, Happy Thanksgiving! If you get a chance, look me up on social media (links below). I’d love to get acquainted!

Nine Deadly Lives Anthology:


  1. I like your explanation about how NaNoWriMo worked for you. I've never been bitten by the novel writing bug, but if I am I'll do it by keeping your advice in mind. Looking forward to reading your next post, Linda. ;-)

    1. Hi Ally, thanks for stopping by! I think this is the first time we've "met" outside the Twitterverse. :-)