There’s No Shame In Quitting (NaNoWriMo), And Here’s Why

NaNo is a stressful thing. In order to keep up, you have to write a minimum of 1,667 words every day. There’s so little time for research and character arcs when you have to write that quick, and sometimes no matter how much caffeine you drink the ideas refuse to come to you. You may spend a lot of days staring at a blank page.

Writing so fast is easier for some than others. For example, there’s someone I met during Camp NaNo last year who reached 50K yesterday. But that’s nothing: during April she wrote 100,000 words. That’s pretty darn incredible, eh?

But I can’t write that fast. I write at my own speed, and so do you. And guess what? That’s okay.

A lot of people have trouble finding the time to do so much writing. Most people have work and/or school that clashes with the pressure of NaNo. That’s okay.

Some people realize too late that they aren’t “pansters” (one who goes into the novel without proper planning ahead of time) at all, and get stuck on page 4. That’s okay.

Some people don’t like writing on such a tight schedule, and some will tell you that something so creative as fiction shouldn’t be so strict. That’s okay.

A lot of people feel constantly pressured to write nonstop throughout November. But who can blame them? There’s pressure coming in from all sides, from your friends who are blazing through their WC to the virtual badges that keep popping up on the website. My brother did NaNo for two years before quitting, telling me, “It became more of a chore than something I enjoyed, so I stopped.”

Not every writer in the world has to do NaNo. It isn’t an obligatory thing, you guys. It won’t make or break your career as a writer. So if you don’t want to, just don’t. And if you realize halfway through that you don’t like this whole NaNo thing, do yourself a favor and don’t sweat it, okay? In reality, the only one who is pressuring you to finish is you.

There’s no shame in quitting NaNo. Here’s another profound quote from my brother: “There’s nothing wrong with quitting at the right time.” (Or something along those lines, anyway.)

At the beginning of the month I wrote a post called, “You’re a NaNo Winner, And Here’s Why.” I wrote,

Even if you’re new at NaNo, you’ve probably heard/read the term “NaNoWriMo Winner.” I even have a t-shirt that reads, “NANOWRIMO 2015 WINNER.” Their definition of “winner” is someone who makes it the last mile, someone who sticks to it and writes a novel in 30 days. NaNo is like a game, in a sense that, at the end, some will “win.”

I bought my t-shirt within the first week of the month (last year). I didn’t know if I would win or not, but I was excited and I was confident in my ability to write a novel.

Allow me to get something straight: “NaNo winner” should not be defined as “finishing by November 30th.” Because are we losers if we try as hard as we can, but still fall short? Absolutely not.

Some nice reassurances for those who want to stop NaNo:

  • Love your novel, but can’t handle the stress of writing it now? Save it for later. You can always finish the novel at any other time, at your own speed.
  • You’re not disappointing anyone by deciding against NaNo.
  • You still gave NaNo a try and you gave it your all, and in my book that in itself makes you a “winner.”
  • Want to try again next year but you aren’t so sure about the whole 50K thing? Try, where you can set your own word count goal! It’s intended for writers under the age of 17, but I don’t see a reason why an adult couldn’t participate.

I’ll say it again, loud and proud: there’s no shame in quitting at the right time.

So go out there and be the writing boss that you are, regardless of whether or not you finish. Any thoughts? Share below! 🙂

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