I’m Kat! Professional Storyteller & Neurodivergent Creative

50K words 😬 Maybe I’ll just try next year 🫤

Published 4 months ago • 3 min read




Over the last week, I’ve seen it more times than I can count, Reader. Dozens upon dozens of fellow Threaders saying mostly the same thing.

"50K words 😬 I don’t know if I can do it. Maybe I’ll just try next year."


"It’s already 3/5/7 days in… It’s too late. I’ll never catch up. 😭 "

But really, when you get right down and think about it, isn’t that the same as saying:

"Well if it’s not going to be a NY Times Best Seller, should I even bother writing a book at all?"

And to that, I say:

We’re not climbing Everest. You don’t have to reach the summit to have accomplished something worth celebrating.

Just writing more words than you’ve ever written is worth celebrating.

Just trying to write a novel for the first time is worth celebrating.

Hell, just writing from an outline for the first time is worth celebrating.

Yes, it’s called National NOVEL Writing Month, but did you know you don’t actually have to write a 50,000-word novel?

Yep, you can write a novella or a collection of short stories. They even have a badge specifically for that.

The point of NaNoWriMo is to challenge yourself. Not to feel shame for not measuring up to your peers. Or to feel pressured into competing against them.

And to illustrate this point, I’m going to share a little something with you, Reader, I haven’t always “won” NaNo. Yep, it’s true.

In fact, of the 17 projects I’ve challenged myself to do (not counting this year’s) since November 2010, I’ve only reached the finish line during the challenge on 6 of them.

Yep, only 6. That’s a terrible number, right? That’s only 35%. About a third. But of the 17 projects I’ve attempted, 8 became published novels or novellas.

But I’m not saying this to brag. I’m saying it to show you that even if you don’t start on time, or even if it takes you a bit longer, or a lot longer, the time you spend on a NaNo project isn’t ever wasted.

Want another example?

Last year I knew I wasn’t going to make that 50K goal. Mainly because my over-ambitious creative self had scheduled my own creative challenge and my weekly Dark Fantasy Boys Love They Come at Night to also launch the first week of November. And I was traveling to Oregon for nearly 2 weeks to visit family.

But I couldn’t not do NaNoWriMo. I had this idea burning a hole in my head about an alternative Earth where the people who immigrated to North America in the 1600s were all fey. So instead, I set a very reasonable goal of 25K.

And you know what? I met my goal, and Ruinous clocked in at 25,380.

So maybe you’ll consider joining me for the NaNoWriMo challenge for the remaining 20 days, Reader with a modified goal. Or maybe that’s a bit too much pressure, and you’d prefer to wait until April (yep they also have Camp NaNoWriMo in April and July) instead.

But whatever you choose, I hope you’ll remember that challenging yourself doesn’t mean you’re required to conquer Everest. Sometimes it can be as small as putting on your snow boots and stepping outside into a new genre.

Your cohort in storytelling,

Kat Vancil


PS 👉 My project for this year’s NaNoWriMo is Occultopus which stars October and Kole from my holiday-themed Alternative Universe (AU) short stories Trick or Treat and 2 Turtledoves.

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I’m Kat! Professional Storyteller & Neurodivergent Creative

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