NaNoWriMo, NaMeWriMo, or NaPoWriMo?

Next Tuesday, 1 November 2016, begins another 30-day challenge to write 50-thousand words toward the authorship of a book. The challenge is called National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo, or just Nano).

nanowrimo1Since 1999, Nano has grown in popularity and is now international. Novels are fiction, but participants sometimes write in other genres. I wrote a historical novel my first year. Others have written memoirs (National Memoir Writing, NaMeWriMo?) or other non-fiction, and poetry (National Poetry, NaPoWriMo? It’s in April.).

Nano is difficult. Last year was my first large scale fiction project. I learned how challenging it is. The math works out so that I need to average about 1,700 words a day to “win” the 50k-word challenge on November 30th. There are no days off.

Because Nano gets more difficult as weeks pass, and life has a way of interfering with writing, I want to produce over 2,000 words a day for the first week or two. Getting ahead in the word count is recommended, and I know why. This is no writing sprint; it’s a marathon. After about ten days, I’ll be looking in the mirror asking, “WTF were you thinking?” But I did it in 2015, and I will in 2016.


Online support, other writers, and attending motivating write-ins, make this challenge doable. Following the helpful suggestions in No Plot, No Problem, such as keeping my inner editor at bay, I’ll manage to keep writing.

Last year, I struggled with being new to fiction writing and not having a plan. Creating the story as I wrote was difficult. Writing to develop characters, scenes, and plot was work, but fun under pressure.

This year, I have an outline and I’m a slightly more seasoned writer. My introduction to blogging was during the A-to-Z Blog Challenge in April. Nano is like A-to-Z in that it’s a learning through immersion experience. It will be challenging again this year because I’ll write in a nonfiction genre new to me.

I’ve decided to write a memoir for the 2016 Nano. I’ve never written one. Technically, that qualifies me as a Nano Rebel. I don’t feel rebellious because there is ample precedent for memoir and I still need the same number of words. Since I have been kicking my biographical tin-can down the road for years, I’ve decided it’s time.


I was raised in a religious environment, but I’ve concluded that atheism is correct. I plan to document that spiritual journey. The memoir will be spiritually thematic and family oriented, but not suitable for young children. I’ll write about specific periods and events in my life when religion or spiritual issues were more prominent, or should have been.

I’ve been researching people, places, and events to reconstruct those times. I’ll be busy with this until December. Only then will I set my inner editor free to deal with the 50K-word first draft, pile of tangled dribble I will have created.nanowrimo4

I’ve been posting on this blog twice per week. During November, I’ll post once per week to provide a brief summary of my Nano experience, and information relevant to my project. Adding news of any other participants that I find interesting would be fun — so do tell.

I’ve been reading about writing memoir. It is different, of course. But since I did this Nano gig one time, I know that I’ll have little time to work on this blog.

nanowrimo3If you have any interest in NanoWriMo, the web page is Join us.

If you are jumping into the Nano challenge also, I’d like to know.

Have fun. I hope to be able to hold my head up enough to resume blogging on the twice a week rhythm again in December.

As Natalie Goldberg says in Writing Down the Bones, “In the center of chaos, make one definitive act. Just write. Say yes, stay alive, be awake. Just write. Just write. Just write.”

Look both ways and mind the gap.

8 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo, NaMeWriMo, or NaPoWriMo?

  1. You have my unbounded enthusiasm and admiration, to even attempt such a thing. I’m by nature a short story writer, a short poem writer. The idea of plot and context and character would have me transfixed by terror.
    Go. Write. Be wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was a Nano Rebel last year, as you know. Still editing my memoir but if not for Nano I’m not sure I would have written it at all. This will be my 3rd Nano – looking forward to writing with you, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fascinating. I totally want to read your spiritual journey/devolvement. I don’t know if you follow Luanne, but she focuses a lot on memoir and I’m going to link you, as this week, she’s been working from Goldberg’s Old Friend from Far Away.
    Feel free to ignore that, but I do like to meddle 😉

    I’ve won NaNo twice, but I never stick with it. Not doing it this year. I know how life is right now. I seem to alternate years…and this would be an on year, but it’s just not.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m excited to hear about your endeavor into the NaNo challenge. I’ve heard about it for a good long while, though I’ve never done it myself. It’s an interesting idea. I have two days to decide if I want to do it. Maybe I will. I have a few old ideas for plots, so perhaps I’ll try that. I also spent quite some time doing an outline many years ago, but I never actually wrote anything. I have written one novel ages ago, though I’ve never let anyone read it (it’s crap with some good elements, but I’m glad I did it). Maybe I’ll take the challenge. Keep us updated. By the way, I LOVE memoirs. It’s my favorite genre.

    Liked by 1 person

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