My Experience with NaNoWriMo (National Write a Novel in a Month)

7 min readJan 5, 2024
People at a desk writing
Image by StartupStockPhotos from Pixabay

My first experience with NaNoWriMo was way back in 2007. I enrolled in a workshop filled with like-minded writers, seeking collective inspiration and support to write our novels. Led by an instructor, the workshop offered advice and tips on completing our 50,000-word novels. We met each week to share updates on our progress, with weekly word count goals, and encouragement to each other. I’ve now given it a second try.

What is NaNoWriMo?

According to NaNoWriMo, the concept of the month-long event originated in 1999, “as a daunting but straightforward challenge: to write 50,000 words of a novel in thirty days.” Over time, the event has grown significantly, attracting hundreds of thousands of participants worldwide to sit down on the first of November, with one goal — to write a 50,000 word long first draft novel.

NaNoWriMo operates as a nonprofit organization, designed to inspire aspiring writers who may struggle to find motivation without a set deadline.

How Did I Do?

At the end of my first NaNoWriMo I fell just short of my goal of writing 50,000 words, completing only about 45,000. However, as far as I was concerned, I considered it a success. My book had a beginning, a middle and an end, and I liked it. However, the mistake I made was sharing it with friends. They read a first draft, hastily written in under 30 days, full of spelling errors, grammar errors, and random thoughts that lacked coherence. After allowing others to read it who didn’t say they hated it but you can tell they did not care for it, I set it aside and put it out of mind. Well, not entirely out of mind, as I haven’t forgotten about it completely. And maybe someday I will revisit and rewrite the book.

Getting my word count in

My Second Attempt at NaNoWriMo

After many years, I decided to give NaNoWriMo another try. One reason is that my wife thinks I should write a book similar to the Fifty Shades book series, citing its success despite any literary merit. A bit of a double-handed compliment, in my opinion. Yes…




Milo Denison is a freelance project manager and content writer. His most recent book “How to Manage Your Manager” is out now