The Real Value of NaNoWriMo

Are you participating in National Novel Writing Month right now? Are you keeping up with writing 1,000 words a day?

I hope so. I’m a big believer that NaNoWriMo can be an incredibly useful exercise for a writer, whether or not you’re currently freelancing. Even if you haven’t started yet, the exercise of writing 1,000 words a day can be worth trying.

I’m not about to suggest that writing a novel will necessarily make any a better writer — heck, even assuming a writer gets a complete novel out of NaNoWriMo, there’s no guarantee that it will be worth publishing. However, the simple act of forcing yourself to sit down at the computer and meet a goal is a skill that every freelance writer must have. Even if you don’t have a client project to work on, having that constant practice can make you a better freelancer.

  • You’ll be able to write faster. While you may not be able to pound that 1,000 words in an hour, practice will improve the time it takes you to complete most written projects, especially those that focus more on copy or nonfiction.
  • You’ll know that you can finish a 30,000 word manuscript in 30 days if you need to. That knowledge can give you confidence for bigger client projects, as well as for personal projects like other books or ebooks.
  • You’ll build an excellent writing habit. Think about what you can accomplish, just by writing at least 1,000 words every day. Heck, if you get comfortable with that number and can up your word count, you can complete a very significant amount of writing.

It’s never to late to commit yourself to writing a novel (or another big project) in thirty days. Just because NaNoWriMo is already a week in doesn’t mean that you can’t start today.


  1. Jennifer Blanchard   •  

    NaNoWriMo is an awesome challenge for writers–and especially for writers who procrastinate. The goal, however, is 50,000 words in 30 days. In order to hit that goal, you’d need to write 1,667 words each day.

    For writers who don’t want to attempt the NaNoWriMo challenge, thou, aiming to write 1,000 words a day is a great goal. It’s simple to do (for the most part) and will definitely get you in the habit of writing daily.

  2. Juliet   •  

    Hi Thursday

    One day (not a phrase I prefer) I would like to produce a novel. I have one that is about 70 pages in the making, but, well, you know how you get side-tracked… This does bring “hope” though.

    Are you planning on any novels?


  3. thursday   •     Author

    @Jennifer, It’s been a while since I’ve done NaNoWriMo and for some reason I was thinking that the goal was 30,000 words — thanks for catching that for me. And if you can hit closer to 2,000 words per day, it’s an even better skill.

    @Juliet, I don’t have a novel on my current project list. I have a whole filing cabinet full of notes for different ideas I’ve had for novels, but I’ve been finding non-fiction projects to be very rewarding lately and I’m okay with putting off a novel for a while.

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