Many of you will have known today is the start of National Novel Writing Month aka NaNoWriMo. For those NaNoWriMo virgins out there, this event is designed to help you write a novel of approximately 50,000 words in the space of 30 days.
It was created by Chris Baty who one day decided it would be a cool idea to write a novel in a month. The concept took off and has now spread globally, creating thousands of write and novels in the process.
Quite a few years have passed by whereby I have approached November 1st with sincere intentions to participate thinking this is the year I will write my novel. But alas the month seems to sneak up upon me and then quickly disappear into December and I find myself still staring at that blank sheet of paper minus 50,000 words.
But not this year.
This time around I am committed to participating and to completing the 50,000 words. For those of you who are interested it’s a great way to flex those creative writing muscles especially if you feel ‘creatively empty’ like I do at times (thanks corporate day job).
Julie Cameron, the author of one of the most popular writing books ‘The Artists Way’ advocates writing for the sake of writing and to letting it all pour out, not caring about the quality….at first. In order to write well, we first need to get those darn words onto the paper.
One of my biggest issues is my ‘internal editor’. I feel the need to create quality prose the first time it comes out of my head but like all new things you learn, only practice can make you better.
NaNoWriMo is also a great way to beat procrastination as you have a clear deadline (30 days) and you have a whole community of people on the same journey to tap into (via the forums on the website once you sign up). Regular ‘write-inS’ and meet ups are also organized where you can meet other fellow writers all on this crazy mission. Writing consistently over 30 days will also (hopefully) instill the habit of writing often.
This is going to be my first real attempt at NaNoWriMo and I feel absolutely terrified, as I have no idea what I will write about. But I feel tremendously excited to see what I will create and I know I will feel so proud of myself having written 50,00 words in a month.
5 Reasons Why you should consider doing NaNoWriMo this month:
- It ‘s all about quantity and not quality. Don’t worry about writing award-winning prose. Focus on getting the words onto the paper. No one actually sees your work so this is just first draft material. You will have the opportunity to edit and re write after November should you wish to do so.
- You have always wanted to write a novel so let this be your first step. A lot of successful authors talk about how you should ‘write fast’ especially the first draft. Knowing you have a limited amount of time to churn out those words, you will focus on getting the words on the paper as opposed to worrying if what you write is any good. That part comes later. For this part, just focus on actually writing- nothing more. Joanne Penn, one of my favorite author entrepreneurs published her first creative fiction book from an idea born out of NaNoWriMo, even though she ended up changing a lot of the text. But the idea for the book had sprung from NaNoWriMo as well as a lot of the key ideas and plots.
- You will learn a lot in 30 days of writing. The only way to learn is to DO and I have a lot to learn in terms of story structure, character development and a whole host of other stuff that I have no idea about. I’m excited to jump in and learn over the course of 30 days and I know at the end of it I will be a better writer than I was on the 31st October….and that is really exciting and will motivate me to commit to these 30 days.
- Helps beat procrastination. A lot of writers suffer from procrastination. Indeed I think I actually could be the queen of it. So I’m hoping that by writing consistently over a 30-day period I will force the procrastination beast to hide away for good and let me create.
- You are not alone on this journey! NaNoWriMo has a global community, which you can tap into via NaNoWriMo.org and their forums. They send encouraging emails each week and host ‘write ins’ where you can meet people as well as online writing events. Thousands of people participate in this. It’s a whole community of writers so you have a great support network.
I’m really excited about participating and will be posting updates to share my journey with you.
I hope the above has inspired you to join NaNoWriMo. Will you be writing? Let me know in the comments below!
- The founder of NaNoWriMo wrote a book, which has some helpful preparation tips and how to succeed. It’s a funny read and has really motivated me.
- NaNoWriMo.org is the place where it all kicks off and if you sign up you get access to some helpful resources, forums and can tap into other writers via Q&A’s and writing events in person and online.