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This month begins my eighth year participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). This is where people from all over the world take on the challenge of writing the equivalent of a small novel (50,000 words), in only thirty days.

When I first started out, I think I felt like most new people, which is that such an endeavor is an impossible task. Directly after my first failed attempt in 2005, the numbers guy in me broke the process down into chunks:

50,000 words into 30 days is approximately 1,700 words written each day

If I type an average of 40wpm, then that is less than 1hr of writing each day!

Seems simple enough. Except what do you do when you are sitting there without a clue of what to write next?

My solution in the early years was to outline the novel ahead of time. This allowed me to sit down I know each chapter I had to create on the fly during the challenge month. This has allowed me to succeed at the challenge for 7 of the 8 years.

Halloween night 2012, I decided to attend my first ever Kick-Off Party. This is where groups of writers from my local area get together to hang out. Then when the bell strikes midnight is when we start writing. After last night’s experience, I wish I had attended the parties in previous years, because I had a really good time, lots of laughs, and met new personalities not normally in my day-to-day circle of influence but ones that share a common interest.

Unfortunately, once midnight hit, I sat there laboring over 1,700 words for nearly two hour! Why so slow?

  • I had not been writing every day. . .like ALL the writing books recommend
  • Unlike previous years I didn’t have an outlined story. I only had an loose idea, a protagonist and an antagonist
  • I attempted to write in a point of view (POV) that I have never really practiced and thus it didn’t come naturally to me

So I have to ask myself, how do I overcome these challenges and not spend so much time writing inefficiently? (NaNoWriMo is about quantity, not quality!)

  • I’m not deleting what I wrote. . .those are precious words that go toward my word count
  • I’m going to take the same characters and story idea and start over but in the POV I’m comfortable writing in
  • I’m going to pray

Seriously. If I’m doing this just for fun, it would be much easier to simply watch a movie or play a video game. If I’m doing this to get published in the hopes of making money, then I’m short-sighted at the opportunities that come through people reading one’s writing and being impacted by it.

Thus I need to pray and include God in the picture, in my opinion. Without that, anything I do in the area of writing is shallow and fleeting.


Set the timer for 10-minutes and try this writing prompt.

Writing prompt #0048


Re-write something you’ve written before but from the point-of-view of someone else in the story.