All The Reasons Not To Nano… And Why I Do It Anyway

By Jordan Drew

There are a million reasons I could come up with not to do NaNoWriMo… well maybe not a whole million because that would take forever, but there are a lot of reasons. Stress is one of the biggies, perhaps even the biggest, since everything about NaNo causes stress in the first place. Between the time constraint of thirty days and the word count minimum of fifty thousand words, the amount of stress a NaNo-er undergoes during the month of November can be off the charts.

I think, however, the thing that worries me most is finishing early. I don’t mean ahead of schedule either, because that would actually rock a little. I mean finishing the story early, as in, I have a plot, I have a direction, write, write, write, oh my God I’m fifteen days in, I have twenty-five  thousand words and a beginning , middle and end.

Yes. End. Enter the proverbial brick wall. To hit this wall while writing is never fun, but to hit it while under a time constraint and nowhere near the required word count is cause for panic and a cup of chamomile tea… and an extra piece of pie… maybe two.

Also, if your house is anything like mine, you’ve got family members who suddenly can’t find ANYTHING. This starts on October 31st , at about 3:00 in the afternoon (this is to make sure you’re completely pre-stressed out before you even begin your thirty days of writing). These family members will come to you with “Where is my mask?” and “Where did you put the 25 pounds of candy you bought three months ago to ensure you would be completely stress free on Halloween?”

This is only the beginning and will last throughout November with “Have you seen my socks?” “Do you know where my shoe is?” and “Did you do the laundry because my favorite shirt is missing and if I don’t have that shirt I will totally just die?!” Come December 1st, you’ll wake up to find all shoes, socks, and favorite shirts have magically reappeared. You’ll also find that candy you bought – probably on top of the dryer. You’d have found it if you’d actually remembered to throw the clothes from the washing machine into the dryer back on Halloween when you originally washed them. You’ll need a clothespin for your nose to get to it now.

I love doing NaNoWriMo. This is my second year, and despite the many reasons I can think of not to do it, I know I’ll talk myself into it for years to come. NaNo is when I force myself to face my fears, allow myself to take the time to concentrate solely on my writing and just get lost in it. It’s daunting, it’s frustrating, it’s stressful, it’s scary… and it’s worth all of it… except maybe that weird smell coming from the laundry room.


JordanOnEdgeJordan Drew is a storyteller/writer/coffee drinker extraordinaire who resides in Georgia with her husband NerdBoy, their two sons, as well as Charlie the Dog and a Yorkie named Jabberwock. You can read more of Jordan’s random rantings at her website,

7 Responses to All The Reasons Not To Nano… And Why I Do It Anyway
  1. Dana
    Twitter: danapittman
    November 18, 2010 | 12:53 AM

    Jordan, I can appreciate your feelings. I feel like all heck breaks loose in my house. I’m fortunate that my kids write with me…this helps a little.

    Good luck!

  2. LJ
    November 18, 2010 | 6:34 AM

    You had me laughing out loud on this one. It’s my first year of nano and I must say I’m not doing well because I’m too much of a planner, I think, but you’ve hit it on the head: no matter what roadblocks you may hit, if it’s something you love, keep reaching for your goals. Good luck with nano!

  3. @fearofwriting
    Twitter: fearofwriting
    November 18, 2010 | 10:16 AM

    I love the humor you put into this. Your household tales remind me how compulsively I put things away too soon, in an effort to be efficient so there won’t be as much pick-up to do . . . only to need that item a few minutes later. Drives hubby nutso!

    I’m not doing NaNo but I know exactly what you mean about the stress. I’m trying to rapidly write the one-sheets/synopses/treatments for four new screenplays—two of which are from scratch when it comes to the story and characters—to take advantage of a friend offering to show my first screenplay to a producer. Maybe it’s all a pipe dream, but I’m treating it like the opportunity of a lifetime. And, man, do those come with some stress!!

    I absolutely adored your bio. You have a gift for writing one that really sings! Your house sounds like a really fun place to live, despite a little chaos ;~)

  4. j
    November 18, 2010 | 11:18 AM

    Hmmm… I just had to rescue my laundry room from an unmoved load of laundry, before the rest of the house (which is attached to the laundry room) smelled the same way. And I’m not even doing Nano this year.

    Feeling confessional this morning.

  5. Jordan Drew
    November 18, 2010 | 12:08 PM

    Dana – I bet that does help. My kiddos are still a little young to sit and write for awhile, but I do hit them up for whether or not an idea sounds cool to them. 🙂

    LJ – I hope you’re having lots of fun with NaNo, and I’m glad the post you smile. Thank you and good luck to you!

    Millie – LOL It does get chaotic around here, but it’s fun. Laughter is great for stress… we laugh a lot. 😀

    Congrats on your screenplay opportunity, it sounds like a blast! 🙂 Thank you for letting me guest post for your blog. This was a great experience!

    J – Go ahead and blame NaNo anyway. That’s half the fun of November! 😉

  6. Lois
    November 18, 2010 | 7:27 PM

    OMG! I have that problem EVERY YEAR! I run out of story right around 50K, and I never get much beyond it. This year, I’m shooting for 100K, and I know I won’t have any problem reaching it. For a change, I’m concerned that I won’t reach my goal by the end of the month, but those 10K Days next week should help. 😉

  7. Patti Stafford
    Twitter: pattistafford
    November 23, 2010 | 10:15 AM

    @Lois – Silly woman, you know you’ll reach your goal. You always do. I keep waiting for some of that passion of yours to drip off and land on me–so far it hasn’t happened but it will.

    @Jordan – Great post. My circumstances are a bit different–no kids and with just two of us here laundry is rarely an issue and my husband is an organizing neat freak. But, he’s also an eccentric musician. I can sit here for hours and never have an interruption, but as soon as I open a file and start pounding the keys, he has something amusing to share with me. 🙂

    That’s okay though, I adore him and plan my life around his schedule–as off the charts as it is sometimes. Of course this week we’ll have a college kid under the roof for the holidays, my middle daughter will be here, but she’s quiet as a mouse usually.

    My problem with NaNo this year is I’m becoming a planner and leaving the pantster mentality behind and things aren’t going so well. That’s okay too, I’ll eventually finish this thing and have something I can be proud of–even if it’s not publishable. LOL

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?