I’m seeing these letters spring up all over the internet, in the groups I belong to, and on message boards.

November is the month of NaNoWriMo. It’s a time when writers from around the world band together and offer encouragement and support whilst each of them aim for a 50,000 word count in 30 days.

Normally, you’ll read about what a buzz it is to participate in NaNo but not here, not today.

I did NaNo a couple of years ago. Yes, I was a “winner” (I reached the 50,000 words) but in doing so I exhausted myself to the extent that I couldn’t write for a long time afterwards. I’m talking in excess of six months. I suffered burn out. And to make matters worse, the manuscript I wrote during NaNo was utter trash and if I were to continue with that particular idea I would have to start again and rewrite the whole thing – every single word.

Some people thrive on deadlines, on pushing themselves to the limit but other people do themselves a lot of damage. If you fall into the latter category then the stress of forcing yourself to write over 1500 words every day could do you harm, and you should think about your decision to participate carefully.

Having said these things, I believe that every person is different and everyone should experience it themselves to know if NaNo is for them or not. It’s not for me. I will never do NaNoWriMo again but I appreciate the fact that thousands of writers get a kick out of it and look forward to November each year. To those people, I wish you the best of luck, high energy levels, and may the words flow freely.

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