NaNoWriMo: Some Thoughts about the Competition to Write a Novel in a Month.

National Novel Writing Months, NaNoWriMo, is coming up in a few weeks. It is a competition with yourself to see if you can write a 50,000-word novel in a month. To do that you have to write about 1612 words a day. That’s not an insurmountable amount, but doing it day after day is more difficult than it seems.
I have done it two times and have two fiction books. Also, the first time I competed, I wrote a novel in November, then took all my short stories and wrote three books from them in the next few months. I competed again the next year. So in one year, I wrote five books over 50,000 words.
I wouldn’t do it again. Here’s why: NaNoWriMo advises people not to edit. That’s very difficult for many people to do. However, if you follow their advice and do not edit, you have quite an editing job after you’re finished. By approaching NaNoWriMo overzealously, as I did. I had months of editing work to do. That meant I had little time to do anything else, including more writing. More writing created an increasing backlog and I had already demonstrated to may self that I could write faster than I could edit.
I also created another problem for myself. My books were around 500 standard pages or 3290 pages on Kindle. I actually should l have broken them into units between 100-200 pages, making several smaller books. That way, I would have edited in small blocks instead of five large chunks. I gave myself even more problems with this approach.
When you are first starting to self-publish books, there is no advantage to writing lengthy works. There is an advantage to writing many short works and it is this: readers like to read authors who have other works, so, if I had broken my books up into say, 15 titles, that would look very different from having only three titles, even though it would amount to the same writing.
Here’s the moral of my story: I think NaNoWriMo has merits. The first and major plus is you see the results of your work quickly, and if you persevere, you can claim a NaNoWriMo victory. You will answer the question of whether you can write a novel with a resounding, Yes! Aside from that, if you do what I did, keep writing and not editing, you can create a massive backlog that will sit there staring at you until you clean it up. I’ve been working almost a year to do that.
I’m not sure I will do NaNoWriMo again, but if I do I will have to edit more than I have and that may keep me from completing a novel in a month.