I don't remember how I heard about National Novel Writing Month, but I'll never forget my first attempt. National Novel Writing Month is a writing challenge that takes place every November. The goal is to write a 50K novel in 30 days!
For my first NaNoWriMo, I wrote a horror/comedy about a zombie infestation caused by a new soda recipe, like New Coke, but much deadlier. I crashed and burned at 22K words, and to make matters worse, I lost the novel due to file corruption. But, like a zombie seeking fresh brains, I never gave up on NaNoWriMo. For year after year, I tried to hit 50K. I finally won three years ago. The next year, I won again by cracking my internal code on how to write 50,000 words in a month.
This post isn't about beating NaNoWriMo (tips to do that are in the links at the bottom of this post). Rather, this is about why you should give NaNoWriMo a try.
There's an infamous Salon.com article by a snarky, jaded writer who discourages writers from participating in NaNoWriMo. I want this post to be the opposite. I think everyone, even non-writers, should give NaNo a try!
Well, why not?
Here's my list of whys:
Reason #1: The insanity of NaNoWriMo is fun!
Nanowrimo is the most fun way to inflict torture on yourself. You'll be sleep deprived, distracted while thinking up your next plot-point, over-caffeinated, and irritable! Your friends will resent you for blowing them off because you have to get 400 more words done before you can hang out with them. Your family will sneer at you for leaving the table early during Thanksgiving dinner so that you can write that elusive epilogue. Sound fun? Probably not, but the truth is, you will have fun despite the torture because you'll be working on something special; you're working on your novel! You'll be creating something unique to you. What can be better than making something for nothing?
Reason #2: The community
It's common to think that writing is solitary work, but in NaNoWriMo's case, it doesn't have to be. A vast community exists around Nanowrimo, consisting of new, seasoned, and non-writers. You can find your community in the forums of the NaNoWriMo website, all social media platforms, and at local meetups. I highly suggest getting involved with others who are attempting the challenge. You'll have a support system, meet new people, and gain friends to commiserate and celebrate your wins! And best of all, you'll have like-minded folks cheering you on!
Reason #3: The practice
Have you heard of the 10,000-hour rule? NaNo is an excellent opportunity to rack up hours toward your writing mastery. Not only that, your writing will improve because you're doing it daily. You'll build stamina and learn to think on your feet by plowing through creative blocks. You'll discover that you don't have to wait for the muse to show up for inspiration by writing daily. If you show up, so will the muse.
Reason #4: The accomplishment
Whether you win or lose, you will come out of Nano with something, whether it's a few thousand words to start your novel, or even better, a 50K book! Either way, you'll gain a story to tell about how while everyone else was thinking about turkey in November, you were pounding away, word by painstaking word, sentence by glorious sentence, writing a novel!
If you've participated in NaNoWriMo, leave us a comment with your best tip on how to finish!
If you need some tips on getting 50K in, check out our links below!
NaNoWriMo: Writing Routines and Word Counts