Have you ever wanted to write a novel? People all over the world do it every year as part of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and you can, too! I mentioned NaNoWriMo in previous posts and am expanding on it now because (as expected), that’s most of what’s on my mind right now. I’m checking in since yesterday I hit the 50,000-word mark, which is the official NaNoWriMo goal (though my personal goal for the month is 80,000).
Hundreds of thousands of writers participate every year – 455,080 last year! Hopefully you’ll participate this year or an upcoming year.
Every November, all month
The official NaNoWriMo goal is to start writing (and possibly finish) a new novel in November, getting to at least 50,000 words by the end of the month. If you write every day for those 30 days, that’s an average of 1,667 words per day. Some people – the planners – find it helpful to have an outline ready to go before November 1 hits so they know exactly where they’re going. Others – the pantsers – start fresh and write whatever they feel led to write (or, they fly by the seat of their pants). I’m more of a plantser, in that I have a vague, malleable outline before the month starts and change a lot as I go. You can type it out or write by hand, though counting words is easiest on a computer. (Once again, I take a hybrid approach.) You can take any approach you want, just as long as you’re writing.
If you don’t like the idea of writing a whole novel or writing something this long all at once, you can still participate. Be a NanWriMo rebel! You can always use this time to work on other writing goals, like finishing a previous project or writing something shorter, like a kids’ book. There are plenty of people who spend their time this way. NaNoWriMo is here to get people writing, and you can embrace the spirit of it however you want. It may feel like cheating, but as long as you’re honest with yourself and others about what you’re accomplishing, then you can still acknowledge that it is, in fact an accomplishment. Lots of people have ideas in their heads, but not everyone takes the next step and puts them on a page. If you’re doing that, well done!
It’s probably because writers are crazy people.
In all seriousness, that sense of accomplishment is the main draw. However, it might be easier to write during this month than at other times because it can provide extra motivation. Some of that is internal motivation, which comes when you have a deadline and specific goals to meet. Some of that is external motivation if you take part in the very active NaNoWriMo community. The website has a general area for people to talk about writing and cheer each other on, and there are also regional communities on the site where you can talk with people in your area. If you’re fighting procrastination, you can come find a writing buddy or just chat on the forums until you get that kick in the pants that you need.
If you need more motivation, you can also think about the end result. Lots of authors have used NaNoWriMo to start or work on projects that later became published works. Some notable works that were partly NaNoWriMo projects include Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, Cinder by Marissa Meyer, and many others. If you’ve ever had aspirations about being a published author, hopefully this can encourage you.
Since I have a short story coming out in an anthology soon, I’ll probably post a short blurb about that. Besides that, my next post will be in honor of International Tea Day, and I’ll pair different kinds of teas with different books.