10 Ways NaNoWriMo Benefits Multipotentialites
Photo courtesy of Lidyanne Aquino.

10 Ways NaNoWriMo Benefits Multipotentialites

Written by Brenda Scott

Topics: Creativity

In working on a post about fictional multipotentialites, it occurred to me that one of the most liberating activities I have found as a multipod is writing, and that National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) takes place in November.

What is NaNoWriMo?

Many of you are NaNoWriMo veterans, but for those of you who don’t know what it’s all about, here are some details. First, I want to prepare you. Now is the time to get excited, because if you choose to participate in this free program, you are in for a great adventure.

According to the official site, NaNoWriMo:

“is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30. Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel.”

Along the way, there are community activities, pep talks, advice from famous writers, and a wonderful excuse to allow you to sit and write. This year’s author mentors include Stephanie Perkins, Diana Gabaldon, Charlaine Harris, N. K. Jemisin, and Gene Luen Yang.

“But I’m Not Sure I’m a Novelist.”

Don’t have a novel idea? That’s OK. You can sit and write whatever comes to mind. Many find that a novel will emerge from free-form writing. The emphasis is on getting your words out in November and editing later. This is a wonderful way to banish your inner critic and let your creative ideas flow.

Are you not really feeling like you’re a writer but you’ve got many projects and ideas going at once? Do you feel like you have something to say but you don’t know where to begin? No problem. You can join in the NaNoWriMo adventure and write about your various interests and obsessions.

Writing can help clarify ideas and projects, and you can make your “novel” a personal journal. The beauty of it is that if you write something very personal and/or if you are shy, no one ever has to read what you write. (Although, if you have one, your cat may have a look along the way. Mine actively worked to distract me during the 2014 NaNoWriMo festivities.) This writing experience is for you.

“I’m Already a Writer.”

On the other hand, if you’ve had an idea for a novel or if you are already an author, the good news is that, according to the NaNoWriMo site,

“250 NaNoWriMo novels have been traditionally published. They include Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, Hugh Howey’s Wool, Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, Jason Hough’s The Darwin Elevator, and Marissa Meyer’s Cinder.”

10 Ways NaNoWriMo Could Benefit Multipotentialites

Here are 10 reasons why I love NaNoWriMo, and why I think it’s extremely valuable for multipods in particular.

  1. Do you sometimes feel you don’t make enough time to be creative? By participating in NaNoWriMo, you are committing to giving yourself some creative time every day, for one month.
  2. Ever feel plagued by an inner critic? Banish it with NaNoWriMo’s philosophy of “write now, edit later.”
  3. Inspired to write but can’t get motivated? NaNoWriMo provides you with a quantifiable goal and a solid deadline (50,000 words by 11:59 PM on November 30). Art is never finished, but sometimes a deadline can help.
  4. Building a habit is supposed to take 21 days. In these 30 days you can build a writing habit and/or a habit of making time for personal creativity.
  5. Feel like you need to find focus or make a plan? Writing can bring clarity.
  6. Have you always known you were going to write a novel, but just never found the time or a way to start? NaNoWriMo can serve as motivation for you to finally write that novel (or perhaps the sequel to one you’ve already written).
  7. Outside of the amazing peeps here on Puttylike, do you ever feel alone in your own corner of the world? NaNoWriMo has wonderful in-person and online communities (including one in the Puttytribe!) that can help you make connections with other creatives.
  8. Participating in NaNoWriMo is great fun. Having a clear mission for a month and total creative freedom is exciting and extremely satisfying.
  9. When you reach your goal, you feel a sense of achievement. Writing 50,000 or more words in November is considered “winning” NaNoWriMo. You can enjoy being a “winner” by being creative for a month.
  10. Once you’ve completed the 50,000 words, that counts as a novel as defined by NaNoWriMo. This gives you bragging rights because you’ve officially written a novel!

Your Turn

Have you participated in NaNoWriMo in the past? Are you taking part this year? Is anyone up for forming a multipod NaNoWriMo group?

brenda-bioDr. Brenda Scott is a fine art photographer, writer, and cellist. Originally trained as a musician and organologist, she has worked as a curator of a small musical instrument museum and her Stagville: Black & White exhibit has been displayed at the North Carolina Museum of History and is currently on tour. She enjoys teaching and holds degrees from the University of Oxford, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Auburn University, and the Academy of Art University. View her work at brendascottarts.com or follow her on Twitter @brendascottarts.


  1. Claudia says:

    Hi Brenda,

    Love the list of 10s. I participated 2 years ago and it gave me the confidence to seriously write a book. But after 10 days I had nothing left to write about hahaha.
    It is a stunning experience though, and I highly recommmend it, my interest and effort led me sign a publishing deal with Balboa Press, as soon as I am done editing it all it goes to print.

    • Brenda Scott says:

      I agree. It is great fun. Did you finish your book in 10 days? Or did you finish it later? Please keep us posted on when your book goes to print.

  2. Just in the past few weeks, I’ve discovered Emilie, NaNoWriMo, and that I am definitely a multipod! I’m participating and I would love to be part of a multipod NaNo group! Anyone else going to the Night of Writing Dangerously in San Francisco this weekend?

    • Brenda Scott says:

      Sadly, I can’t make it to the Night of Writing Dangerously. Anyone else going? How is the writing going this month?

  3. I’ve been taking part in NaNoWriMo since 2005. My main reason for not publishing the stories is I change my mind and want to write movie, comic, audio play, stage play and puppet show adaptations for the story all at once.

    • Brenda Scott says:

      Congratulations on 10 years of NaNoWriMo, Peter O’Malley. What wonderful stories that they will work on all of those platforms. Which would be your favorite?

      • Peter O'Malley says:

        My favorite would have to be the comics since I can write then draw then ink then … well you get the idea. The whole project ends up being doable by me with me using differing skills and interests along the way. As to the end quality, well I’m still working on that :)

        • Brenda Scott says:

          What a wonderful way to use many of your skills on on project. As for quality, my old prof at art school always used to tell us that art is never done, but sometimes there is a deadline. I always feel like my work could be better, but I just have to meet deadlines sometimes. :)

        • Brenda Scott says:

          Hi, Rick Penn-Kraus.
          I love that NaNoWriMo helped you cross off an item on your bucket list. That must have been a wonderful sense of completion, hitting the 50,000 mark and knowing that you were done. Sounds like you’ve got many, many creative projects going on in your world. What kind of music do you make/what instrument(s) do you play?

  4. I did NaNoWriMo years ago. Loved it. Had always wanted to write a novel, but there were always reasons why I couldn’t find the time. Characters that appeared on one page sometimes never showed up again. I didn’t know where the story was going. But it was an adventure just to write and see where it went. The main bit of advice I remember reading was: Never hit the delete key. It’s a great bucket list activity. Once I hit 50,000 words, I stopped the novel and haven’t looked at it since. But that’s okay. The goal wasn’t only the finished novel. It was the process. I still do a lot of writing (I’m a creative director/designer/photographer/illustrator/musician/software instructor/volunteer and more), but I don’t yearn to write a novel anymore, since I can scratch that one off my list.

  5. Matt Brady says:

    This has been my first go around at NaNoWriMo, and I’ve never much thought of myself as a creative writer. In spite of my own negative self-talk and doubts, it has been an amazing experience so far! I had forgotten that my creative side needs some sort of an outlet, so these past days of writing furiously in bursts have been an absolutely holy experience for me.

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