I Keep Failing at NaNoWriMo and That’s Okay

The format is just not for me

Jenna Goldsmith
3 min readNov 1, 2019


When November rolls around each year, writers lock themselves away all month long. Their collective goal is to write a 50,000-word novel by the end of the month. This is NaNoWriMo.

For those who don’t know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and it’s a “nonprofit organization that provides tools, structure, community, and encouragement to help people find their voices, achieve creative goals, and build new worlds — on and off the page.” Participants are tasked with the goal of writing 50,000 words in 30 days. On the website, writers can form a community with local writers and writers around the world, track their word count, and they have access to a wide variety of resources and learning tools.

I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo three times since 2013 and each time I can’t make the word count. The main reason is that I’m a slow writer and it took six years to write and edit my first full novel.

I first participated in 2013 and I hit just under 15k before schoolwork, exam prep, and bad time management got in the way. I didn’t make another attempt until 2017 when I hit just under 15k AGAIN. This time it was simply self-consciousness and general writing anxiety that stopped the NaNo train. My last attempt was just last year in 2018 and I didn’t even make it 2000 words. I don’t think there’s anything to say except I just kind of gave up.

But it’s okay! Really.

While I love the idea of NaNoWriMo and the amazing writing community that it creates, the format is just not for me.

My time management sucks

In 2013, I had to prioritize my schoolwork. The term was ending in December and I had final projects due and exams to study for. Now that I’m out of school, I’m working at my day job during the day. The hours are subject to wild variety depending on the time of year and November is basically the pre-holiday rush.



Jenna Goldsmith

Writer || INFJ || Wellness junkie and chronic oversharer. jgoldsmithwrites.com/