NaNo NaNo

NaNo NaNo

It happens every year, but I forget. Sure enough, this year I tweeted about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month for those of you living under a rock (or living without someone in publishing in your life (which might as well be under a rock, since publishing people are all that is good and special in the world, right??))) and how much I love this event.

And whoa (or holy krakatoa!!).  The response was instant and unbelievable. An agent? Loving NaNo?? No way. Agents hate NaNo. Agents complain about all the crappy, rushed manuscripts they get on December 1st. Agents blah blah blah.

Well I don’t speak for all agents, but I can speak for one, and I love NaNo. I love the energy and the optimism of it. I love the hope.

When I was in college (the last time before this blog that I did any substantial writing), I wrote all my papers the night before they were due and I thought revising meant hitting spell check.

I have since looked up the definition of revisions, and realized that it requires mucho time and effort. Which of course is why I don’t write.

But you do.

You’re writers. So just write. Just get the words down and worry about them later.

And that is the essence of NaNo.  

Querying your 3rd manuscript and feeling like you want to give up if this one isn’t it, just go NaNo. Stuck on a plot point in the middle of your WIP? Take a break and go NaNo. Your agent is on submission with a manuscript and it’s making you crazy?? Just go NaNo!

I don’t know what situation you could possibly be in—published or not—that taking a one month break to NaNo would be a bad idea. What’s the worst that could happen? You’re not left with anything useful at the end? I just don’t see it.

I don’t see the pages at the end of November as the finished product (and neither should you), but rather as a new starting point. And personally, it seems like a much better starting point than a blank page.

NaNo isn’t the time to worry about query letters and rejections and marketing budgets and shrinking shelf space all the other worries of the publishing industry. NaNo is the time to get the words down. There will be plenty of time for worrying later. If you don’t have a story to worry about, you don’t have anything at all.

So does this mean I want to see a bunch of NaNo queries in December? Of course not. I’m speaking to you as professional writers. And professional writers edit. And then edit again. And again and again and again. 

So rise to the NaNo challenge! And then later you can worry about the post-NaNo challenge…the one where you work your editing magic and make that NaNo baby publishable.

But you know what? I believe it can be done. And I love to see it happen. 

NaNo NaNo*


*I can’t figure out how to cut this so you only see Mork saying Nanu Nanu, but the whole thing is kind of fun to watch if you’re old and dorky like I am and used to watch this show.


  • Patrick Alan
    Posted at 10:12h, 14 November Reply

    I’m WAAAAAAYYY younger than you.

  • Kimberly Sabatini
    Posted at 10:18h, 14 November Reply

    Patrick wears rainbow suspenders.

    • Patrick Alan
      Posted at 11:27h, 14 November Reply

      Yes, but they are for my socks.

  • MaryAnn (JAustenwannabe)
    Posted at 10:22h, 14 November Reply

    For some reason I had the idea that you were a young pup, maybe early thirties. So maybe you watched Mork and Mindy reruns?

    I’ve never done NaNo, but who am I to judge a fellow writer? If that’s what someone wants to do–I say more power to em. 🙂

    I was 12 when Mork and Mindy first came on televsion in 78. Wonder what ever happened to Mindy? Reminds me of Busom Buddies, Tom Hanks is now a superstar and I can’t remember the name of (tv) his best friend. Oh well, hope he did alright for himself.

    Have a Marvelous Monday. 🙂


    • Delia
      Posted at 10:44h, 14 November Reply

      MaryAnn, that was Peter Scolari, wasn’t it? I think he went on to do Newhart, but I haven’t seen him since.

    • Christine d'Abo
      Posted at 11:13h, 14 November Reply

      Pam when and married Mark Harmon. They are so cute together. 🙂

  • Delia
    Posted at 10:41h, 14 November Reply

    Wait, wait, wait, wait…so what you’re saying is — I’m old? (I miss Mork. Almost as much as I miss Balkie and Venus Flytrap.)

  • Rena
    Posted at 10:59h, 14 November Reply

    Great Copernicus! My french teacher in high school looked just like Mork! We teased him mercilessly for it. (he kind of enjoyed looking like someone we could all relate to…)

    And then there was the social studies teacher who looked like Q…. We were careful around him.

  • Daisy Whitney
    Posted at 11:09h, 14 November Reply

    I got my timing wrong. Damn. I did NaNo in April. Then July. Then September! Maybe I should query you now??? Mwah, ha ha ha ha ha

  • Christine d'Abo
    Posted at 11:15h, 14 November Reply

    Ah NaNo…I love this time of year. Even though I don’t really have time to do it, I enjoy the rush of simply being able to write. Some of its crap, but hey, that’s cool too. It is nice to see that not all agents are down about it, though I totally appreciate why.

    Can I query you now? How about now?? NOW???

    Should I wait until January 1st?

    Actually, I’m just thrilled to have the excuse to write. It’s easy to get lost in the business side of writing.

  • MattPBullen
    Posted at 13:24h, 14 November Reply

    And come March, of course there’s NaNoEdMo, (which I discovered just in time, having been about to propose the idea as my own. Silly boy.)

  • Living, Learning, Eating
    Posted at 13:45h, 14 November Reply

    This is my first time NaNoing. I don’t really have time, but whoever does? And it’s so exhilarating! You won’t see a new manuscript from me on December 1, though, as December/January/etc. will be NaNoEdiMos. Le sigh – why does editing always take so much longer? 😛

  • Lynn Rush
    Posted at 15:16h, 14 November Reply

    I love Nano. It’s my third year participating, and you’re right, the energy is awesome. We’re having fun on Twitter with it, too, under the hashtag #nanotramps. Tons of fun writing sprints, crazy quotes from our stories. It’s just awesome.

    Do you really get queries on stories written for Nano the very next month?
    Holy moly.

  • Elizabeth (@lizwritesbooks)
    Posted at 16:51h, 14 November Reply

    I love NaNo. It’s kicking my butt right now, but I love it. Not as much as I love Mork, though.

  • jared west
    Posted at 02:04h, 15 November Reply

    Michelle, your beautiful words have inspired me. Yes, I will grow a mustache for Movember. Wait, what were you saying again?

  • Ileandra Young
    Posted at 03:20h, 15 November Reply

    Lol, I’m 27 but I adoooooooooored Mork and Mindy when it was on TV. More than that I luuuurve NaNoWriMo and this is my second year of doing it.
    I can’t wait for the point when its done and I can look back at it and say; ‘time to die!’ before ripping it to shreds and putting it back together into something beautiful.
    Oh, and squeee!

  • Jennifer Duffey (@jenduffey)
    Posted at 10:35h, 15 November Reply

    I love Mork and Mindy!! I love that you put it in the NaNo post. Now time to get back to my own NaNo. 🙂

  • kasie west
    Posted at 17:40h, 15 November Reply

    I have never NaNo-ed. Am I a shame to all writers everywhere? Now, as for Mork and Mindy….Love them.

  • Whirlochre
    Posted at 01:00h, 16 November Reply

    Ok, so you’re first on the list for my Nano project — an 80,000 word high fantasy novel about dwarves who mine iron for the gods. I’ve taken the risk of telling the story using only verbs, which kind of makes it hot on action. In addition, I’m only using verbs beginning with the key letters D, M, I and G (DMIG is the name of the novel, btw). I just KNOW you’re going to love it.

    On a serious note — I thought that about revisions too (right up until last Thursday, as it happens).

  • Donelle Lacy
    Posted at 00:52h, 25 November Reply

    I resisted Nano for the reasons you mentioned – the getting the words down and not editing. I’d love to not feel pressured by my own perfectionist tendencies. But that didn’t happen this year. I love your post, though, and yes! Nanu nanu!

  • Aurelia Blue
    Posted at 06:27h, 04 November Reply

    Reading this post for the first time (11/4/12), LOL. I was NaNoing a lot of months last year. I don’t do the official NaNo for one reason, it’s like THE worst time of the year. I think December would be better than November! November is the build up to all that holiday CRAZY, and in the Great Lakes, Midwest, it’s *screech whispers because that’s officially how you do it* THE HARVEST!!

    I think all your reasons listed above though are excellent and I highly recomend them. 🙂

    Glad to see you on Twitter and that you are able to go home. Take good care and thanks for putting this post out there again. I like to read your old posts. Hadn’t gotten to this one though. 😉

    And happy NaNoing to all you hearty souls who are doing it! I’m here for moral support!

    Also, I am 37 (I have no shame in admitting this. It’s the best time in life, I’d had so far…). I loved Mork and Mindy. I was little, but I did watch it live. On free, public TV, no less, lol.

  • Double Bah « Wolfson Literary Agency
    Posted at 09:16h, 21 November Reply

    […] personality transplant, and I’m merely facing some busy months ahead, let me remind you that I love the spirit of NaNoWriMo, and for all of you who are participating, perhaps you’ll have something ready to show me […]

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