NaNoWriMo for Church Communication Projects

NaNoWriMo for Church Communication Projects

November 17, 2010 by

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Aspiring writers challenge themselves to write a novel (defined as 50,000 words) in 30 days. It’s an exercise in putting aside excuses and distractions in order to get it done.

It’s something I’ve successfully participated in three times (I attempted it this year but I’m failing miserably). The result has been three rough novels that otherwise never would have come in to being. I’ve always wanted to write a novel but the prospect has been too daunting. The idea of coming up with a plot, committing it to paper and then sitting down to write it out has always seemed impossible. I could never get anything quite right and each effort failed under the weight of expectations.

But NaNoWriMo offers freedom. The intimidated writer is encouraged to just write. Give up the plots and plans and just write. That’s the only way you can stay on track to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Don’t edit, don’t proofread, don’t think—just write. Accomplishment is the goal. You can go back later and make it better, but for now just do it.

That’s the idea: A short-term, realistic-yet-difficult goal will allow you to overcome the inertia and get started.

I think the church could use NaNoWriMo.

Not to write novels, but to tackle some of those communication projects that just never happen. What has your church always dreamed of doing but never had the time to tackle? Launching a website? Redesigning the bulletin? Staging a dramatic production? Hosting a drop-in community center?

What if you applied the principles of NaNoWriMo to your big dream? What if you tried to see how much you could accomplish in a month? What if you committed to a realistic yet bold goal and committed to making it happen? What kind of communication change could you spark?

Understand that the pressure cooker of NaNoWriMo is not intended to be a year-round ordeal. It’s supposed to be a limited, short-term kick in the pants to get things moving. It works best for projects with an end goal in sight that need a lot of work on the front end. No expecting year-round miracles from your overworked volunteers.

But I think this kind of approach to projects could be a game-changer for churches that can’t seem to get started, moving them past dreaming and into doing.

It works for fickle, procrastinating writers like myself. Why not church communicators?

Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks

When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998, runs the hyperlocal site West St. Paul Reader, and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
Read more posts by | Want to write for us?

5 Responses to “NaNoWriMo for Church Communication Projects”

  • Paul Clifford
    November 17, 2010

    I’m using this as a time to write a book on podcasting for church, so I love the idea.

    Shameless plug feel free to edit:

    View my progress at:

    End shameless plug. ;)


     | Permalink
    • Paul Clifford
      December 14, 2010

      I’ve finished my rough draft and now, I’m on to editing. It was MUCH easier than I thought. I’ve got ideas for three more books, too.

      I’ve learned one thing. If you do a little every day, after a while you’ve accomplished something bigger than you thought you could.


      BTW, I’ll try and let everyone know when I get the final thing launched on CreateSpace, so you can buy it through Amazon. ;) I know some people would love for their churches to podcast, but don’t know how or why. I think there will always be a free version, too.

       | Permalink
  • Ryan Parsons
    November 18, 2010

    Great thoughts. Thanks!

     | Permalink
  • Drew C David
    December 1, 2010

    It is the 1st of December and I am just now reading this post. The message however still applies. Thanks for the insight.

    I am going to apply this to my life and church. If we took this approach every quarter, imagine the possibilities.

     | Permalink
    • Kevin D. Hendricks
      December 1, 2010

      Drew, glad you found some helpful ideas. But I wouldn’t recommend doing it every quarter. That will burn you out pretty quick. The idea is to take a herculean effort to get something moving, and you can’t generate that kind of effort every quarter.

       | Permalink