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Sunday, November 22, 2009

NaNoWriMo vs. NaBloPoMo

November is a crazy month where writers across the globe get a stranglehold of their muse and push their writing abilities to the limit!

Which is harder: NaNoWriMo or NaBloPoMo?

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) participants strive to write 50,000 fictional words in one month, and NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) participants strive to post on their blog every day for one month. I did some quick math and, considering a blog post is roughly 500 words in length, the word count for NaBloers would be 15,000 words in one month.

50,000 words vs. 15,000 words

A quick look at the word count and you'd assume that NaNoers have a tougher mountain to climb. One thing we need to remember is all the words are hidden from the public. You can write a terrible first draft and still win NaNo.

NaBloers, on the other hand, have less words to pen but their thoughts must be complete. Every day is a new post with a fully fleshed out idea (hopefully) that is visible to the public. You can't hide behind a veil of secrecy. The NaBloPoMo site checks to see if you actually posted every day before they award prizes. Skip a day and you're out of the game.

You can skip a day or two with NaNo, but it's not the days that matter, it's the overall word count at the end of the month. But in order to win, you do have to verify you wrote 50,000 words by uploading your draft to the site between November 25th - 30th. They also have word count widgets and a word-count box on the site to keep track of your progress and hold you accountable. I don't know if they award any prizes or not, but the real reward is knowing you completed a novel in one month.

Quality vs. Quantity

Both sites are all about quantity. There are no editors with red pens looming over your shoulder as you type. You can write a crappy first draft or you can write crappy blog posts. It's up to you.

The NaBloPoMo site even says that they ignore the quality of your posts and reward the quantity. You can enter their blogroll and get assigned a number in order to win a prize, and if you write drivel you can still win. But who wants terrible blog posts that stay online forever?

The same thing goes with the NaNoWriMo site. They say all you have to do is write more than one word repeated 50,000 times. But who wants to cheat themselves out of a real novel writing experience?

My Take

Personally, I'd rather participate in NaNoWriMo. I've done my own NaNo, but not during the month of November, and found it truly rewarding. When writing a novel, it's necessary to shut yourself out from the real world and delve into a fictional one full of your own characters, setting, and plot. Thinking about writing a blog post every day for a month makes my head hurt! It's hard to come up with a new topic daily that you have to edit, polish, and send out to the world. Either way, it's not an easy task for participants in either NaNo or NaBlo. I applaud all of you for taking the challenge this month and stepping up to the blank page. You are all winners for putting yourself out there and trying.

Now, I want to know:

If you're participating in NaNoWriMo, how is your word count coming? Are you happy with the way your novel is turning out?

If you're participating in NaBloPoMo, how are you coming up with new ideas every day? Do you find the quality of your blog posts suffering?

And to those rare birds that are doing or combining both: what are you thinking? LOL.


  1. I'm doing NaNoWriMo this year for the first time and I completed my 50K in 17 days. I'm actually aiming for 70K since the first 50 was fairly easy. I love the freedom NaNo gives me to just try something out. I had never heard of NaBloPoMo until just a couple of days ago. I may try it AND NaNo next year.

    Maybe after next year, I'll have more of a perspective on which is more difficult.

  2. I had never heard of NaBloPoMo before, so thanks for letting me know! I might try this next year. After having my blog ( for a year and writing irregularly 3 times or so a week, I went to a 5-day format in August, and so far, I've kept up. One trick I think is to have certain things you write about each day. For example, on Mondays, I write about anything I feel strongly about in education--like an editorial almost. On Tuesdays and Fridays, I review books and provide sample lessons. On Wednesdays, I provide a lesson with a book or exploring some subject such as poetry writing or Egypt. One of my favorite days is TIMELESS THURSDAYS, where I talk about some old children's or YA book that is still around today and kids still love. Anyway, thanks for this interesting post, Ang!


  3. GunDiva - Wow, that's impressive!! Good for you. It's always great to hear about NaNoers hitting their word count goals. :)

    Margo - Those are great tips for daily blogging. I can see that topics help keep you on track. I don't know how you do it all though! You have a real gift for writing quickly and well. Maybe you should do a blog post sometime about daily blogging. I'd like to know how much time you spend writing/crafting your posts. When I write a post, I just pull up the draft box with a vague idea of what I want to write about and then just write. Sometimes it takes too long! An hour or so. I'd like to be able to cut down that time. I guess if I knew the topic, like you suggested, it could be a little easier and quicker. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I'm participating in NaNoWriMo and I'm up to about 25,000 words. I would probably be closer to the 50k, but I just can't write non-sense, even when I'm free-writing. Also, I'm writing memoirs, so there's no filling in with exaggerated story.

    I wouldn't even try to write a daily post. I have a hard enough time trying to come up with material for two posts a week.

    Every woman has a voice. What does yours have to tell?

  5. Anonymous4:42 AM

    Love this post! Last year I did both, each for the first time, in November. For NaBloPoMo I basically blogged my experience as a Wrimo. This year I am only working on NaNoWriMo and my blog is being virtually ignored, so what does that tell you? :) I did complete both last year, but often had to force myself (out of bed a few times) to get a post written. If I had planned ahead I probably could have had posts pre-written to post certain days, but where is the spirit and stress in that? I learned a tremendous amount from both experiences. I also tried to do NaBloPoMo in April along with Poetic Asides' Poem-A-Day Challenge, but I am just not a consistent enough blogger, I admit it. I am however a great procrastinating, come-from-behind writer who loves a deadline, so I am on my way to "winning" NaNo this year. Only ~17,000 words left to write :) I recommend both challenges for anyone who loves to compete with themselves, but not necessarily at the same time (unless you don't have a job or kids ;)!)

  6. I'm on my third year of NaBloPoMo and I love it. The first year I wrote every day on what I was thankful for. Yes towards the end it was getting harder to come up with substanstial posts but I found readers loved that the best because I was authentic and they could relate.

    Last year, even with a surgery in the middle of it all, I had 30 guests with and without blogs send me why THEY were thankful. It was a lot of formatting work but I loved it. I learned so much.

    This year is a mix of both. I received nearly three weeks worth of guest posts, I had book tours to share, and now I'm diving into my own thankful list to round the month out.

    I encourage anyone with a blog to give it a try. It's like a deadline every day. :)

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
    Julie Arduini

  7. I'd not heard of NaBloPoMo until just now, but love the concept. I'm trying NaNoWriMo for the first time but am definitely not going to win. Been a total learning experience tho and am glad I've at least started the novel. Can you suggest a good system for juggling a full-time (50 - 60 hr) job, a family, launching a freelance writing biz AND writing some decent material simultaneously?

  8. Flory - 25,000 words is a lot. You should definitely be proud of yourself. :) I hadn't thought of that, but yes, writing a memoir would be tougher to do during NaNo. You can't really freestyle since you have to get all the facts straight. A large part of memoir writing is getting all the details down first, then finding which parts to leave out to form the story/message you want to tell. Kudos to you!

    janflora - You're one of those rare birds I was talking about! I can't believe you did both! I love your "spirit and stress" comment. ;) Keep up the great work! You've got most of your novel down and you're in the home stretch. You can do it!

    Julie - That's a great idea, posting what you are thankful for every day. Loading up on guest posts is a super way to do it too. Thanks for the tips!

    Sandi - Even if you don't "win" NaNo, you have a great start on your novel. It's wonderful that we have events like this that make us write. I wish I had a system that works for juggling a full-time job, family, freelance writing biz, and NaNo! LOL. The way I juggle my full-time job w/ WOW, my freelance biz, and family is by not getting enough sleep. =/ Marcia Peterson shared some great tips on deadlines in her article on WOW: And I also like the advice Marla Cilley (aka The Fly Lady) gave in her article on WOW, where she said, "You can do anything for 15 minutes." If we think about projects in short increments of time it makes them more achievable. I don't know how that would work with novel writing though, but it may help with household and family tasks. ( It's amazing with all you have going on that you gave NaNo a shot. I applaud you!

  9. I didn't do either of these challenging explorations into writing. I am participating in the Poetry A Day Challenge at Poetic Asides with Robert Lee Brewer (
    I love the challenge of creating a poem from a specific prompt each day. This is my second PAD challenge and this time I have furthered the difficulty by assigning myself an overall topic that all the poems must link to...FUN!
    I look forward to trying my hand at the others at a later date.

  10. I heard about NaBloPoMo a little over a year ago and think it's a great idea. I look forward to trying it out in the future.

    Although November is typically the month that this challenge takes place, with prizes given, participants are encouraged to continue creating posts throughout the year.


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