The past two years, I attempted NaNoWriMo. Last year, in searching for how people actually write 50,000-word novels in a span of thirty days, or one month, and succeed. Some, though I assume they’ve cheated, reach the count anywhere between less than a day and three days.
I learned a lot of professional writers hate, or at least despise, NaNoWriMo because it focuses on the number of words written, not the mechanics of the art. A lot of writers see it as an insult to the industry, and many more publishers see it as the worst time of the year.
I won’t be participating this year. I write quite frequently on this forum-based RPG. I’ve six diverse characters with their own little quirks, and they all have dynamic lives and personalities, and it really is amazing. If you don’t know what an RPG is in the forum-based sense, or even in the written sense, it’s basically Sims for writers: You develop your character via an application, personality surveys, and by simply playing them out through the writing. I like the groups with the limits, because otherwise I run into times where I give 400-word tags[1. You “tag” someone to post, and each reply is a “tag” back.] and receive only 50- to 100-word tags in return, which makes me feel cheated.
I’m only part of one (I didn’t fit in/like it anywhere else), and the minimum word count requirement is 300 words, which is a nice minimum. However, I rarely meet it, because I don’t pay attention to word count like I always do with NaNoWriMo. My tags are typed up in Google Docs (I like how it automates the ellipses), then pasted into the thread as a tag. I know how to check the word count, but I tend to write more when I’m not constantly watching the word count (another reason Google Docs is brilliant for this).
Eventually, I get carried away and do more.
My average word count is around 500 words.
I tend to have problems refraining from writing above anywhere around 600 to 800 words, and I try to wrap it up to a place I can actually stop, which puts me around 900 to 1000.
Perhaps the 50,000-word count is not the enemy when it comes to NaNoWriMo, but the actual idea of word counting instead that makes people feel like they’ve failed, or whatever it is that they feel.