Slow and steady wins the race (and other reasons why I’m not doing NaNoWriMo)

Hi, friends.

I hope this post finds you well. With the rapid approach of November, writerly minds everywhere are turning their attention to the gargantuan task of producing a first draft of a 50,000 word novel in the coming 30 days. Until yesterday, I thought I might be one of them – but I hsve made my decision. It’s been five years since my last attempt at this madness, and I would venture to say that I know more about myself as a writer now. That is no small factor in my decision. The last ‘novel’ The Morning and the Mourning, which totalled 52,000 words by close of writing on Monday, 30th November 2009 sits untouched on my laptop. Or at least I think it does…it has been so long since my last thought of the project that I have not the slightest idea of its fate.

I also had the good fortune to see John Le Carre speak at my university yesterday. For myself and other perfectionists, however, I felt that his advice on stopping as soon as you notice an issue with the flow of a piece would ultimately result in few if any pieces of writing ever being finished.

That said, perfectionism is also my enemy with regard to any future participation in NaNoWriMo. I would love to be one of those people who can sit down and type nearly 2000 words a day, to end up with exactly the same amount when they clock off for the day. That said, I can’t imagine it ever happening. Le Carre also advises not to show unfinished work to anybody. If I stuck to that, I would never finish anything, as I need occasional convincing that the project in which I am immersed is worth seeing through to completion.

If you’re a bolder, braver writer than I am, I wish you all the luck in the world with NaNoWriMo. Know that I will be cheering you on from the sidelines, in between conversations with the tortoise to remind myself that slow and steady still wins the race.

If you are NaNoing, leave a link to your profile in the comments. I’d love to see what you’re up to.

Take care,



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