Writing Marathons - What to Expect

Every November NaNoWriMo takes over and becomes the topic of conversation for writers. Many start planning for it by doing the research for their new project before it starts, signing up on their website, organizing meet-ups with other local writers, in general preparing and getting organized in order to try to reach their goal of writing and finishing their book in 30 days. It is so popular that I decided to try it a couple of years ago only to discover that NaNoWriMo was not for me. It wasn’t the commitment to write that didn’t work for me.  It was mostly the timing of it, but also the constant emails, and competitive talk which I found not only distracting, but also annoying. What I did like about NaNoWriMo was the get-togethers to write, as the energy in those cases was more of collaboration and support. This doesn’t mean that NaNoWriMo is not good; it just means that it might not be for everyone, and that there are other writing marathons out there that might for better for some.

Speaking to many different writers, I realized that in order to make the most of, and have a successful marathon, one have to be realistic with their expectations. Below are some points to consider when signing up for a writing marathon:

  • The first thing to consider is timing. If the timing isn’t right for whatever reason, chances are that the writer will get overwhelmed with a self-imposed priority only to end up dropping it. November for me is the busiest time of the year; the holidays and high season with my business are stressful enough. So no matter what project I want to take on, it will end up abandoned when I realize that it is physically impossible for me to handle any other commitment. However, the summer is the low season for my business as well as any other aspect of my life. So why not create my own NaNoWriMo during the summer, or simply look for marathons during that time, instead of trying to force an impossible venture?
  • The second most important thing to consider is results. Let’s be real, can a writer really produce a quality best seller in 30 days? I really don’t believe even the most prolific writer can come up with a print ready novel in such a short time, so why do we shoot for that goal? A marathon is simply a way to get you committed and started on your project. It is a way to make something that it is not a surviving priority, important and part of our daily responsibilities. So what if you didn’t even finish a first draft? Set a reasonable goal and be proud of the progress. In the end, if you are satisfied and happy with what you accomplished, no matter the goal, you will be motivated to continue to work on it, so be realistic by setting up achievable goals.
  • Finally, shop around! Just because NaNoWriMo is popular, doesn’t mean that you must sign up. What counts is that you sign up and commit to what you can do and maintain in the long term, because no one is a writer just for a month out of the year. Look for what can be done within our life and change the schedule accordingly each month, but keep at it 12 months a year!


In the end what matters is to keep the marathon going and keep writing! For more information about Reader Views visit www.readerviews.com.