Dear NaNoWriMo,

It’s not you… It’s me.

From the moment I discovered you, I’ve loved you. The idea of writing a novel in a month—I nearly swoon thinking about you. You are a wish, a dream, a goal to achieve, but I will never be good enough for you.

I’ve tried to make our relationship work. I’ve slaved over the keyboard for hours and hours all in the name of loving you and making my daily goal of 1,666.66667 words. But what has that gotten me? I’ll tell you. Two and a half YEARS of editing from one month’s worth of writing.

I can’t live like that.

Not again.

You are a phenomenon. You inspire thousands of writers every year and I wish, I so wish, I could be one of them. But we are just not compatible. You want me to be someone other than myself—someone who writes fast. You can’t appreciate my need to edit as I write. To go over and over a page until it’s perfect. To sometimes spend hours on one paragraph. You do not value my need for quality. And I can’t meet your expectations of quantity.

So, I think it’s best if we go our separate ways.

I will always love you, but from afar. I want you to be happy. If anyone ever mentions you I will encourage them to give you a chance, because I know it’s truly not you… It’s me.


Abbie Roads

(Certified slow writer)

[Tweet theme=”basic-full”].@Abbie_Roads breaks up with #NaNoWriMo.[/Tweet] [Tweet theme=”basic-full”]Are you thinking of participating in #NaNoWriMo? Read this first! via @Abbie_Roads[/Tweet]

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30 comments to “Breaking Up With NaNoWriMo”

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  1. Nikki Weston - November 1, 2015 Reply


    good for you my friend! I was friends with NaNo too but following this break-up I am categorically taking your side 😉 Your decision to go public with it has supported me for the following reason: NaNo has given me pride, excitement, and incredible cameraderie, but it’s also left me holding about five babies. Five wads of wet spaghetti, tangled in a mishmash of words that heretofore I have failed to raise into self-reliant adult manuscripts that might go forth into the publishing world and thrive (sell!).

    Your post has given me justification, much needed right now, to do things my way. NaNo was fun, all five times, but I’ve proved to myself that I can write fast, just as I’ve proved to myself that I cannot put shape on a first draft that is THAT messed up.

    They say you can’t change someone else, nor should you try. So it seems to me that NaNo really is like a lover after all 😉

    Best for now – Nikki.

    • abbieroads - November 1, 2015 Reply

      Hi Nikki!

      Every year when Nano comes around, there’s this moment (okay maybe a day) where I contemplate doing it. I try to talk myself into it, but all it takes is trying to tell myself to NOT edit as I go and I’m crazed. I NEED to edit as I go or I get twitchy!

      So I’ve had to let NaNo go. Again. Until next year when I contemplate it again and come to the same conclusion.

  2. Robin - October 31, 2015 Reply

    I did NaNo once, several years ago. I even did more than 50,000 words. Way back when I could write on three or four stories at a time and not get lost and confused with the plots.
    I still have the draft, but nothing has come of it, either as a fan fiction or an original *sigh*.
    I am obsessive about correcting as I go. I can’t NOT get rid of those little red lines, and now that I’ve got Grammarly as well? Yeah, it takes me forever to get something written now, even though I’m not particularly slow, simply because of those red and green lines! That’s the bonus of g-docs, it isn’t compatible with Grammarly so I don’t get half of those lines because it can’t see the missing comma after an opening statement or the double negative, lmao.

    • abbieroads - November 1, 2015 Reply

      Hi Robin!

      I just can’t seem to stop editing as I go either! It’s just our process I guess. I’ve tried to fight it, but that never ends successfully!

  3. Bonnie - October 30, 2015 Reply

    Just met Nanowrimo. Not in a bar, but close to it. I like bad boys so I am going to give it 30 days.

    • abbieroads - October 31, 2015 Reply


      You make me laugh!

      NaNo is definitely a bad boy!

      Good Luck with your 30 day relationship! I’m rooting for you two to work out!

  4. Barb Heintz - October 30, 2015 Reply

    Well Abbie I succumbed to the temptation. I, like you, are a slow writer who edits as they go. Since it is a continuation of my last book, I’m still in the story groove. Hope at least to get a rough draft to work on later. (I’m also a pantser).

    • abbieroads - October 31, 2015 Reply

      Hi Barb!

      We’re writer twins! I’m a slow writer who edits as I go and I’m a pantser! I wish you the best of luck with NaNo! You have to try it at least once to see if you like it! Keep us updated on your progress!

  5. Brynna Curry - November 11, 2014 Reply

    Love this!

  6. Erin Bentley - November 10, 2014 Reply

    Hi, I’m Erin and I am a slow writer. A terminally slow writer. I like to take my time, keep my details straight (I write fantasy and science fiction, so it’s important) and minimum daily word counts are just so much pressure. Sorry NaNoWriMo, but I need my space.

    • Abbie Roads - November 10, 2014 Reply

      Hi Erin!
      “I like to take my time, keep my details straight.”–> Amen, Sister! My books are very complicated. My hero and heroine always have special abilities and it will screw up an entire scene/chapter if I don’t take the time to filter it through each of their abilities to see how each of them would react–or appear to react to the pov character!

  7. Jessica Ruddick - November 10, 2014 Reply

    Love this! I can write reasonably fast, but November is just a bad time for me. Maybe if it were in May, but it just isn’t happening in November.

    • Abbie Roads - November 10, 2014 Reply


      I was just thinking about you and your Immersion!

      I think Savvy Authors offers a NaNo type event in May! You may want to check it out!

    • Robin - October 31, 2015 Reply

      If I remember correctly there is a JuNoWriMo.

  8. Dyanne Conner - November 10, 2014 Reply

    Not a fan of NaNoWriMo but I DO love your new website!

    • Abbie Roads - November 10, 2014 Reply

      Dyanne Conner!

      I love my new website too! Brynna Curry is a Master!

  9. Barb Heintz - November 10, 2014 Reply

    Great post Abby. I could never do NaNoWriMo. I am a slow writer as well. I like to edit my work as I go instead of rushing through. I am envious of people that can do this, even if they don’t make their goal.

    • Abbie Roads - November 10, 2014 Reply


      I’m envious of those fast writers too!

      Slow writers UNITE!

  10. Lee Kilraine - November 10, 2014 Reply

    Love this, Abbie!! I had one fun NaNo experience when first dipping my toes into writing, but since then…nada. This year I thought I could attempt a run at NaNo with a new puppy at my feet. Ha! But I also have the same problem as you- I can’t turn off that inner editor. I must edit as I write. Linking to this on my blog for anyone else who loves the “promise” of NaNo but just can’t make it work.

    • Lisa Cooke - November 10, 2014 Reply

      I’m currently hanging with NaNo, but I can see the relationship faltering. I suspect I’m not the only one getting played. I like the idea and the temptation was too tough to ignore, but I can’t just slam words on a page and keep going. If I do, I can’t see the good stuff hidden in the dross. I’ve decided to stay with it (This is my first year) but I have no intention of hitting 50K by the end of the month. I just don’t have the stamina I used to. My goal is to finish a Christmas novella at around 20K. I’ll accept that and remember NaNo with fondness.
      Lisa Cooke

      • Abbie Roads - November 10, 2014 Reply

        Hi Lisa!

        There it is ‘hard’ to resist NaNo when every loves it so. It seems so fun to be a part of the community, but the actual writing part just didn’t work for me. It sounds like you have a good plan–20k! Go Lisa!

    • abbieroads - November 10, 2014 Reply

      Hi Lee!

      The first time I tried it was so exciting! But 2 1/2 years of editing… not so exciting! I find my writing is better if I edit as I go. Not to say things still don’t need edited again and again, but I have to have the bones set right in order to move on. Thanks for linking on your blog! I appreciate it!

  11. Julie Mulhern - November 10, 2014 Reply

    I flirted with NaNo. Once. Who wouldn’t?

    I know now, NaNo is not for me. Those seductive promises. Those whispered encouragements. Just no.

    • Abbie Roads - November 10, 2014 Reply

      Julie–those seductive promises, only led to heartache and more work for me. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who feels this way.

  12. Veronica Forand - November 10, 2014 Reply

    I broke up with Nano a few years ago. It’s better to leave now before you find yourself two weeks in with twenty thousand words you’re not happy with. I still sprint with friends to get my ass in the chair, but I have accepted my slower pace. Eat chocolate, it’ll help with the heartbreak.

    • Abbie Roads - November 10, 2014 Reply

      Hi Veronica!
      I’ve been unhappy with Nano since the beginning. I’m actually not NaNo-ing this year, just officially announcing our break-up: ).

  13. Margaret Ethridge - November 10, 2014 Reply

    I love this. I’m a big fan of the NaNo, but I am a goal-oriented girl. 😀

    • abbieroads - November 10, 2014 Reply

      I’m a big fan of the NaNo too… We just didn’t work out…

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