NaNoWriMo: Quantity Not Quality

Category: Writing

During NaNoWriMo, word count is king. There is no time for crafting poetic prose and absolutely no shame in churning out crap. In fact, by signing up for NaNoWriMo you give yourself express permission to write a whole lot of crap - for the entire month of November. And that’s the premise of NaNoWriMo: liberated from our inner critic, anyone can write.

Writing a novel can seem like a gargantuan challenge. So when NaNoWriMo comes along offering a fun and unique approach to producing literature – regardless of its quality – what’s not to like? It provides a structured approach to applying the oft quoted professional advice ‘don’t get it right, get it written’. Quantity is everything and all that matters is the deadline.

I’ve been chipping away at a novel for nearly a year now, and I still haven’t hit the grand target of 50,000 words set by NaNoWriMo. So, could I save myself a lot of effort, angst and several more years if I just roll up my sleeves this November and get on with it?  

There’s certainly something appealing to NaNoWriMo – a new challenge, joining a creative community and there are now more than 60 published NaNoWriMo novels. It’s tempting. But would I feel happy writing crap for an entire month and knackering myself into the early hours of the dawn doing it? No. And I don’t want to feel bound to yet another timetable and more deadlines – I already have a day job and children to do that for me. So I won’t be donning my race number and jostling among the crowd of marathon writers this year – but I may jog alongside for a bit during the month of November and cheer on all who do.


Monday: Julia Collins on writing because you enjoy it 

Marianne Paget

Marianne Paget took part in SBT's Screen Lab 2011.