NaNoWriMo – Half-Ass Edition


Okay, okay, okay. Fine. Whatever you say, non-existent people who are not remotely pressuring me to do NaNoWriMo. You got me. I’ll do it!

For those who don’t know, November is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), during which thousands of  would-be novelists lock themselves in closets, bathrooms and heated minivans, and try to churn out the stated goal of 50,000 words in 30 days. I’ve participated a few times before and never “won,” because I can’t write 50,000 words in November in general. That speed just isn’t me. I write slowly, research as I go, and obsess over tiny things. And I still have to revise just as much as speed-writers. Ugh.

I have, however, frequently used NaNo as a launching pad to get lots of uncritical progress on a particular project. Regrets Only, the second book in the Marriage Pact trilogy, started substantially as a NaNo project. I’ve also spent lots of NaNoNovembers writing stuff that I later discarded or set aside. Or strapped into a car and sent to a fiery death over a cliff. But that’s just part of the process, too, and if you’re at that stage of the process, November is as good a time as any to turn off your inner editor, critic, and naysayer and churn out some work.

This November, it happens that I do have a project outlined and ready to go that I have just barely started. And with a few notable exceptions (like my self-publishing workshop mid-month) this actually is a good time for me to put some wear on the keyboard. With that in mind, I signed up to participate in NaNo this year, with the following caveats:

  • Technically I have already started this novel, which is against Pure NaNoWriMo protocol. Come and arrest me, NaNo Cops! I have about 1600 words in the books already. So that’s like, a day of progress already in place.
  • I have no real expectation of getting to 50,000 words by the end of November. Skywalker is out of school the entire week of Thanksgiving, and I am teaching the workshop on the 15th. It’s just not gonna happen.
  • I am shooting for 30,000 words this month, which is still ambitious given my schedule and would make me really happy.

So if you’re doing NaNoWriMo this year, whether the real version or my special brand of half-ass, stop by and visit and let me know how it’s going for you. I wish you nimble fingers, flowing creativity and many hours of literary fun!


I’m M.J. (Manda) Pullen, an author and mom in the Atlanta, Georgia area. I blog about writing, publishing, motherhood, health, psychology and whatever else strikes me in the moment. Or whatever I can remember to do.

My books include The Marriage Pact series, a trilogy of funny, semi-realistic Contemporary Romance/Women’s Fiction novels coming Fall 2015 from Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s Press in association with Macmillan Entertainment. If you enjoyed this entry, please follow along or join my email list.  Thanks for reading!


MJ Pullen

M.J. Pullen is a distracted writer and the mom of two boys in Roswell, Georgia, where she is absolutely late for something important right now. Her books include quirky romantic comedies and playful women's fiction. She blogs erratically with writing advice, random observations, and reflections on raising very loud kids and dogs. Join her Distracted Readers newsletter list for updates, free content, giveaways and more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.