To NaNo or Not to NaNo…


Today’s post comes from Michelle Merrill, YA writer, blogger and friend of mine. Next month she will participate in NaNoWriMo, and she is here to give us the pros and cons of the program.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with NaNoWriMo, it stands for National Novel Writing Month, which takes place every November. Sign up at to track your progress, find support, and meet fellow writers. I applaud anyone who can write a novel in a month. Like Michelle. Even with five little ones and a focus on serving others, she finds the time to write amazing stories. I have had the honor of reading two of her books. The woman can write! As in, “Holy crow, this book made me laugh, cry and stay up until 4:00 am even though my kid will wake up in two hours.” Yep, she’s good. So, check out her blog because this is one writer you’re going to want to know.  Here’s Michelle!

Why would someone participate in NaNoWriMo?

Let’s be honest. Who has time to write a novel in November? With one major American holiday (Thanksgiving) and early prep for one of the biggest holidays of the year (Christmas), there’s just no time. Which is why I’ve never actually participated in NaNo. But…I’ve always challenged myself to do my own JaNo since I have plenty of time after the holidays to write a book in January. So, why this year? Basically I have a book that needs to be written and I have friends who are going to participate with me. When you regurgitate that many words at one time, you need people to push you, cheer you on, and be with you every step. And you also need to plan on not getting anything else done.

Reasons TO do NaNo: You get a set goal (50,000 words) in a set deadline (30 days). If you ever plan on signing with an agent or publisher, you will have deadlines. Maybe not so intense, but you’ll have them. What better way to practice? And you also get a story out of it.

Reasons NOT to do NaNo: Um…it’s hard? Definitely. 50,000 words in 30 days can be overwhelming to say the least. Not only do you have an end goal, but you’re going to have to set daily and/or weekly goals. Most likely you’ll get behind…and then you’ll have to catch up.

Even though it’s hard, it can be worth it. You might write your all-time worst first draft in the whole world…but at least you have something to work with! Something is better than nothing. And if you don’t do NaNo, you might continue to push that story off for a better time.

Whether you decide to do NaNo or not, remember that each time you write, it makes you a better writer. If you do NaNo and you don’t finish, don’t sweat it! At least you tried! Setting a goal is the first part of completing it. So maybe you don’t do it this year, maybe your time is next year. It’s a great challenge and a learning experience!

That’s it. Keep it real and keep it up. You can do it.

Michelle Merrill Head Shot

Michelle Merrill is a wife to the best husband, a mother to the cutest kids, an aspiring author, an avid reader, a friend, and a daughter of God. She absolutely loves to watch old movies, eat anything sweet, and play her music way too loud.

You can find her at

Or follower her on twitter: @merrillwrites


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