The real meaning of NaNoWriMo

Here’s the bad news, I didn’t cross the goal line for NaNoWriMo this year.

In part, it was because we lost electricity for three days, and I had to help organize a Thanksgiving dinner without heat, and I got sick (co-incidence? I think not.) But also a big part of it was that (like usual) I waited until the last minute.

It turns out that when a big snow storm hits your area and knocks down wires, it’s not such a great strategy to leave everything until the end.

But here is the good news, even though I didn’t get to write the words down, I still thought about my writing. A lot. And to some degree that counts.

I thought about the story I’m collaborating on with a friend. I now know what I need to do to finish the scene I had been working on.

I pitched a new holiday story idea (something that I’ve always wanted to write) to my kids and they helped flesh it out. I’m looking forward to writing it and the kids are already asking to read it.

I visited my parents last week and they sent me home with a family heirloom. “You have to promise to tell its story,” my mother said as she carefully wrapped the item in a soft blanket preparing it for the car ride back to New Hampshire. I thought about the item for days and I think I’ve come up with a proper way to tell its story. I tentatively explained my idea to the kids. This idea has also piqued their interest – the first true test of whether a story idea will fly or not.

Thanks to the month of November being dedicated to writers, I was even able to finally get organized enough so that I could start work on a cookbook project I had promised my son I would write for him.

All of this wouldn’t have happened, had I not been focusing on my writing. So even though I didn’t complete the NaNoWriMo challenge this year, by keeping my writing in the foreground instead of delegating it to somewhere in the background, I was still able to move forward with my projects.

And in the end, isn’t that what the NaNoWriMo challenge is really all about?


This is not to take anything away from those who completed the NaNoWriMo challenge – to you writers who crossed that finish line, I tip my hat and say “Well done, well done indeed.”





Wendy Thomas is an award winning journalist, columnist, and blogger who believes that taking challenges in life will always lead to goodness. She is the mother of 6 funny and creative kids and it is her goal to teach them through stories and lessons.

Wendy’s current project involves writing about her family’s experiences with chickens (yes, chickens). ( She writes about her chickens for GRIT, Backyard Poultry, Chicken Community, and Mother Earth News.