A big chunk of my writer friends ‘do’ NaNoWriMo again this year, National Novel Writing Month. I suspect most people are familiar with the concept: write a novel of at least 50,000 words in one month, starting November 1 and ending November 30. Some of my friends breeze through this year’s NaNoWriMo, others struggle with every word.


I’m skipping NaNoWriMo altogether. Not because I don’t like challenges. I LOVE a good challenge. I LOVE to win, too, and in the run-up to NaNoWriMo, I was filled with eager anticipation. Another chance to push out a novel, another chance to show that I have a writer’s stamina, an artist’s perseverance. While thinking up a plot for my next NaNoWriMo novel, I took a good look at my desk. I do that, because sometimes even the tiniest shred sparks an idea. My desk was –and still is– packed with newspapers, magazines, books, cards, nicknacks, maps. And with projects. I am working on a thriller for adults, on a YA thriller, on the English translations of my previously published books, on three picture books, an article for my coming graduation  as a creative writing teacher, my bi-weekly homework for school, a series of ultra short stories, the organization of an EU-wide SCBWI conference in Paris next March.

I looked at it all and I thought: 

That is why my NaNoWriMo profile shows that I entered this year’s challenge, but that my word count is still a liberating 0. I will finish all my projects first and next year… well, next year is 12 months away. We’ll see how my desk looks like then and if there is room for another NaNoWriMo challenge. For now I can tell you that it feels good to say no once in a while.