I wrote about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in Make It Mighty Ugly, and I said I’d probably participate this year. And so, though I didn’t have a clue what to write a novel about until I was in bed on Friday night, I’m doing it. After all, I did say I’d do it. In print. That’s practically like writing it in blood.

The idea of NaNoWriMo is that you write a 50,000-word novel in the month of November. The reason I mention it in MIMU, and why I think it’s so great, is that the focus of the whole challenge is on quantity rather than quality. It’s about just getting it done, not about getting it done well. It’s not uncommon for fellow challenge-takers to wish each other well on their shitty novel. Because you can’t write a great novel in thirty days. But you sure can write a shitty one. And then you can revise and rework it into a great novel (or not) another time. (I’m pretty sure Water for Elephants came from NaNoWriMo. [I found that book a disappointment, but loads and loads of people loved it.])

(Edited to add: Here, Chris Baty, founder of NaNoWriMo, says it way better than I do.)

The whole point is simply to write a novel, and to not concern yourself with good writing.

I’ve never written a novel. I’m not a writer who has a handful of novels sitting in a drawer in my desk (also, my desk doesn’t have drawers). I have, however, started NaNoWriMo at least twice before, and not finished.

So this time I’m determined to finish. This time, I know I can write a 50,000-word book, because I have. And I know I can stick with a daily challenge, because I have. So I’m in a different place than I was the other times I took on this challenge then bailed.


What do you say? Are you in? It’s not too late to start!


On Friday night, when I asked Greg what I should write about, he told me I should write something to do with a hairdryer factory closing down. That’s a terrible idea, but it’s one more idea than I’d had without it, and so I went with it. (You may or may not be pleased by my assurance that the factory in my novel is not a hairdryer factory.)

I’m not concerned about how shitty my novel may be, but I am concerned that I’ll have nothing to write about. Then again, at the time I’m writing this post, I’ve written more than 3,000 words, so.

So far, my novel is terrible, but my word count is on target.

I’m going to follow Rachael Herron‘s advice from MIMU and try to do my novel writing before I start my workday every morning, so then it will be done and I won’t have to concern myself with it at the end of the day when I’m tired and lazy.

I’m kpwerker over at Let’s be writing buddies.

Come on, dear readers. Write a shitty novel. I dare you.

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Shalagh Hogan

Oh good for you. I was actually in for a couple days. And then I started thinking that I need to spend November arting. I write all the time and never allow for the arting. So I am arting every day instead. And for me, that’s huge. When I no longer have a baby/toddler, I will definitely do it. And maybe I’ll be asking my husband what lamebrain plot he can suggest too. So cute though.

Kimber Medley

Well, this is maybe sort of random. I’m here because I just started reading your book, Mighty Ugly. (Really, really love it.) Looking around, I realized that you wrote Teach yourself Visually Crochet, which is how I learned to crochet last year! So, wow! Thanks for that! Also, my 10 year old daughter is a working on her second NaNoWriMo and she has 9K words so far towards her goal of 15K.

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