The Shy NaNoWriMo: A Personal Essay

Hi, I’m kitkatt and I’ve been doing NaNoWriMo since 2006. So that would be 12 years as of 2018.

A lot of people feel like they have to go to events and participate to get the most out of NaNoWriMo. That both is and isn’t true. How do I know? I was super shy when I started NaNo.

So way way back when I was 17 in November 2006, I heard about National Novel Writing Month in late September, early October. Being the totally outgoing person I was at 17, I tried to convince my friends to do it with me to… less than stellar success.

I didn’t want to meet new people on my own. I wanted to meet new people with similar interests while still having the safety blanket of friends around. Like I said, only a few even pretended to humor me.

So sometime in the latter half of October, I went to the Kick Off Party, held by the then ML. I dragged two friends with me and we were quiet and awkward, mostly only waving hi to the other people but talking amongst ourselves. Then we left. And that was all I did for NaNoWriMo 2006. I barely wrote because I was an angsty teenager and had angst to angst. Or something.

2007 wasn’t too much different. I went to a write-in at the Wolfchase Barnes and Nobles and watched the write-in from a distance because I was too scared to actually go, you know, talk to people. The next write-in I could get to, I came over and was identified as the awkward looking girl from Barnes and Noble. I barely talked besides introducing myself but it was easy to find common grounds with other writers.

2008 is when I started getting social and now. Well, if you’ve been to an event in the last 6-8 years, you’ve probably seen me being a hyper, weird mess. But I also understand that it isn’t as easy for some people.

So why am I writing this? Because I know what it’s like to be shy. Meeting new people is awkward and what if you have nothing in common? What if they immediately hate you? Those were the kind of questions I dealt with when trying to get into the social part of NaNoWriMo.

But I have a secret for you: you don’t have to be social for NaNoWriMo. Some people find it helpful, some people don’t. Where some people can write around people or spitball ideas with others, some writers can’t. And that’s 100% fair. Actually, maybe more than 100%.

My point is this: if you do NaNoWriMo, don’t feel like you have to participate in real life events. We want you to but it isn’t required. Being shy doesn’t make you lesser. You’re still one of us and we’re going to cheer you on regardless.

I hope to see you at an event! I’ll be the crazy lady with the flower tattoo.




NaNoWriMo 2018 Season is Here!

Welcome to the first week of October, Wrimos!


As many of you know this is the time of year where many of us begin to hope for fall weather changes, pumpkin spice everything, Halloween decorations, and how much candy we can consume before we feel sick. Of course, if you are familiar with National Novel Writing Month then there is one other thing you begin to do this month…


You stress out because NaNoWriMo is coming!


If you are like me then October hits you like a ton of bricks every single year. You start to sweat profusely, panic about the lack of ideas or the abundance of ideas that you have in your head, swear a little if you’re so inclined, and wonder how this year you will silence your inner editor who has been ripping apart all of your more recent work over the last few months.


Want to know a little secret, though?


You have time.


Believe it or not, you have time to get your writerly mess of a life together and ready to go on November 1st. There are 31 days in October before we hit midnight and we are off writing as if our lives depended on it. If you are a pantser you know the drill: Ignore every little inkling of your brain telling you that you aren’t ready to write something you don’t know anything about, and just hit the pavement when the clock strikes midnight.


If you are a planner, it’s simple: Give yourself just enough time (Chris Baty suggests a week) to plan what needs to be put on paper, and let your imagination and determination do the rest.


The point of NaNoWriMo isn’t to make the next bestselling book, after all. The point is simply to write; to get your ideas on paper as quickly as possible and to get out of your comfort zone a little. So banish that inner editor of yours, and while you’re at it tell it to take the stress with it. October is full of promise and full of ideas just ripe for the picking. So take one, and mold that idea into something that – come November – you will be ready and excited to write! I know this year will be amazing, and I cannot wait to see what November has in store for all of us.


This is Brooke Wheeler, over and out! Write on, Wrimos!

Guest post to the NaNoMemphis Blog by one of our Awesome Wrimos! Check Brooke out on Facebook, Twitter, and Her Blog!