I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo every year since 2010 and this year will be no different. For those who don’t know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and during the month of November each year, writers from all over the world devote themselves to writing a new novel, with a target word count of 50,000 words. It’s a tall order, but there are so many advantages to doing this.
It helps develop a daily writing habit
One of the best ways to improve as a writer is to write every day. However, this is more difficult than it sounds. For me, because it’s something I’ve done all my life, it doesn’t seem like such a tall order. I’m human though. There are times in my life, when I’m going through a difficult time for example, and the last thing I want to do is write. I have always written a diary, since I was seven years old and you can tell when I was going through something heavy because there are a lot of blank pages. NaNoWriMo often helps writers to get into the habit and stay in that habit.
It’s a great way to keep the momentum going
There’s a massive difference between momentum and motivation. If someone needs motivation to write, I often ask myself if they should even be writing. I think if you need motivation, you’re in the wrong career. Momentum on the other hand, is something we can all struggle with. Having a daily word count goal and sticking to it can help writers to see the benefits of developing that daily writing habit and keep the momentum going.
It’s a way to make writing social
Writing is often a solitary hobby. I’m sure I’m not alone in admitting that I am a writer who struggles with loneliness. The longer I’ve done this full-time, the more I’ve had to deal with loneliness and a cycle has begun where I have started to lose confidence. It’s one major reason why I’ll be getting a job in the next few months. NaNoWriMo forums are a great way to meet local writers and organise write-ins, where a bunch of you get together and just write. And talk about writing. I’ve only been to one write-in so far, but it was fun.
It makes the autumn shorter
Bit subjective, this one. I often find that I’m so absorbed in writing my novel that I don’t notice the darker nights and colder days. I hate the month of November with a passion so having this challenge speeds the month up and makes it slightly more bearable. Who doesn’t find that time passes quicker when you’re on a deadline?
We finish the year with a sense of achievement
Another subjective one, but I’m sure lots will be able to relate. Have you ever come to the last quarter of the year and realised that you haven’t moved at all? You haven’t achieved much and you’re stuck in the same place, stagnant and fed up? This is a great way to end the year on a high. If anyone asks what you achieved in this year, you can say that you wrote a novel. Even if you don’t finish it, you’re well on your way to getting a completed novel and it will make you feel awesome.
As I said, every year since 2010 I have participated but I’ve only managed to complete the challenge twice. This year, I suspect I will not be reaching 50,000 words but I’m still giving it my best shot. Some of my most successful books have come out of NaNoWriMo, such as the final version of The Tangled Web (my 2010 book) and Cherry Lips (my 2014 project). This year, I’m attempting to write a Christmas romance entitled Celebrity Santa’s Grotto. But more about that during the month of November.
One thing that’s going to be different this year is that I won’t be adding many new buddies. On my creative writing course, there’s a forum thread that suggests we share our NaNoWriMo profiles with each other and become friends. However, there’s also one major rule that I always have to be mindful of when I’m interacting with my fellow students: we aren’t allowed to self-promote. By simply sharing my NaNoWriMo handle, I’m sharing my pseudonym and that’s risking getting punished by the university.
Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? Share your buddy link below or share your book title.