There are so many mixed feelings about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Nevertheless, it still maintains popularity since its 1999 start. While it creates excitement for some, it creates anxiety for others. I get it. 50,000 words in thirty days is pretty intimidating. It is a daunting task to undertake, right in the middle of the holiday season no less. Do you write on Thanksgiving? Or do you suffer your relatives judgmental comments about wanting to be a writer?
It is the most fulfilling feeling to know that you’re creating something amazing and are on the same page as others in your community.
NaNoWriMo is not necessarily for everyone, and there are alternatives for that. Even though, I still suggest you join the other 90% who don’t finish the challenge but try it anyway. It is better to try and fall short than to never open that document on your screen.
Gets you motivated
Writer’s block, lack of focus, wandering minds, procrastination, constant distractions, perfectionism, sensitivity–it’s like a writer gene.
If you let us, we will sit and stare at the screen or paper and wait for genius to happen. It seems like when we have the energy and inspiration to write, we don’t have the time. And, when we don’t have that energy and inspiration, we have all the time in the world. It is the most frustrating feeling to lay in your bed and stare at the dark ceiling and have the perfect scene play out in your head.
NaNoWriMo forces you to try to plan and prioritize writing. It holds you accountable by challenging you to make time to be awesome and proud of something. Many fall behind and stress, and that is okay, if you don’t write one day you can still make that time up. But, the motivation you suddenly sustain through the month is phenomenal and you feel so good by the end.
Meet new people
NaNoWriMo is not like National Taco day or Grandparents day, where 5% of people care about it and 80% of people don’t know it exists. In the writing world, probably 80% of people know about it and 50% of those get involved. It is a thing. With new people joining every year, you have plenty of people to meet in the forums for the first time. Yes, the forums.
The NaNoWriMo official site has a region, genre, age, and all other kinds of forums for writers to meet and talk to one another. In addition to your social media writing communities, you can meet so many people on the site, too. And, if you find your regional group, you can even meet some in person.
Builds closer writer relationships
Of course, when meeting new people, you have an opportunity to build a relationship with them. What’s special about relationships from NaNoWriMo is you come predisposed with a similar experience and a similar passion for writing. This means that, though your relationship may be narrow at times, you’ll always have something to do together, and a way to be supportive of one another.
Along with this, you have a writing buddy. Someone who can help you improve your writing and feel more proud of your work. This revision and editing buddy is also fabulous for bouncing ideas and getting out of the house for a cup of coffee and some writing workshop.
You get closer to finishing a story
Like I said before: the majority of people don’t actually finish their stories during NaNoWriMo. However, the motivation to finish the story usually gets them pretty close. The lovely thing is that you can take a story idea and get so close to finishing that first draft during November. Or, if you have part of a story that you’ve put on the backburner, NaNo will push you to get that much further in it than you would have before.
If you are part of the estimated 10% who finishes, you’ve written a novel in 30 days! Not only does that make you a writing badass, but you have a first draft that can eventually be published after you revise and edit. That in itself is an accomplishment of which to be proud!
I don’t know about you, but those are some damn good reasons to get involved in something you love anyway.
Again, I suggest that you join in for just the fun and hype. Try something new (or old) and push yourself to be that much more awesome than you already are!
Every year in April NaNoWriMo holds a writing camp. It is a miniature version of the November event. In this version you set your own goal, and you get divided into cabins with others writing similar genres or goals.
So, are you going to join in this year? Do you think we should be so into NaNoWriMo? Do you know of any other things we can do instead? Comment below or on social media when you follow me for conversations and updates.
You are writing anyway. Why not share the experience with others?