NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. Every November, writers from all over take the challenge to write 50,000 words in just 30 days. It’s a literary challenge like none other and last year, over 700,000 writers entered the contest.
The thought of 50,000 words in 30 days is incredibly overwhelming. Writing at least 1,667 words every day is a huge commitment and many writers pass up NaNoWriMo because they’re scared that they will fail to reach their goal.
Last year was my first year to officially participate in NaNoWriMo and I had been apprehensive about it for that exact reason. I had known about it for quite a few years before, but I was never confident enough to take the plunge. I knew that I was more than capable of writing a novel, but the deadline discouraged me and kept me from participating.
When I did finally decide to participate last year, I completed my goal by Thanksgiving and couldn’t have been more proud. If you are unsure of whether or not you should participate in NaNoWriMo this year, I encourage you to just say yes and sign up for it. It may sound stressful, but there are many benefits that come with it.
Development of a Writing Routine
Before I started NaNoWriMo last year, I wrote whenever I felt like it. If I didn’t feel particularly motivated one day, I just skipped it and told myself I would write another day. You cannot do that during NaNoWriMo. If you don’t feel like writing, you need to power through your mental block. The deadline is too tight and the requirement is too large for you not to write often. When you know that you need to write every day, the development of a routine naturally occurs and you’ll soon find it easier to sit down and write every day. Writing will become second nature and as a writer, this is an amazing feeling.
Confidence as a Writer
As I mentioned before, the feeling that you get when you finish a novel is unparalleled. However, the journey to the finish line feels just as good. It’s fair to say that the more that you write, the better you get. If you write every day for thirty days, you’ll begin to get comfortable with your own writing style and you may notice your skills flourish. There is no better feeling than having confidence in your abilities.
A Network of Fellow Writers
Writing is typically a solitary act and it’s easy to feel alone with your thoughts. However, NaNoWriMo offers you the ability to connect with fellow writers who are also participating in the challenge. These people will understand the obstacles that you face, give you feedback on your novel, and lend their support and advice. Forming this network is completely optional, but the social aspect is not widely known.
A Rough Draft of a Novel
Once November ends, you will have a rough draft of a novel! Whether it’s your first or fiftieth, writing a novel is a major accomplishment. Once you have finished your draft, you can decide whether to hide it away on your desktop or eventually pursue publication. Either way, you will officially be able to say that you have written a novel and that’s something to brag about.
All in all, there’s really nothing to lose when you say yes to NaNoWriMo. There is no fee to participate and there is no penalty if you do not complete your goal. I plan on participating in NaNoWriMo again this year and I hope that you all do as well. If you’ve ever expressed any interest in writing a novel, just say yes and sign up at nanowrimo.org.
Until next week,
I will continue my NaNoWriMo Prep series through October and I will pick up my NaNoWriMo series throughout November.
NaNoWriMo Prep 2014: