Don’t freak out, but NaNoWriMo is just twelve days away.
Even if you’ve never given it a try (the goal is to write a 50,000-word novel in November), you probably have an opinion about it. Some say its a gimmick. Others say you can’t possibly write a quality draft in a month.
You might want to tell that to these writers. All of them wrote novels during NaNoWriMo and went on to see them published.
In the past, I tried and failed several times at NaNoWriMo. Finally, in 2013, I was able to complete the task. I wrote the second novella in that same series in 2014. And I’m planning to write the third in 2015.
By the time NaNoWriMo rolls around in 2016, all three novels will be available for purchase. As I’ve powered my way through this series, I’ve become a NaNoWriMo believer.
Here are five reasons you might want to participate this year.
It’ll Boost Your Confidence
A lack of confidence is one of the reasons we don’t write, in general, and it’s one of the reasons some don't participate in NaNoWriMo.
What what I even write about? Even if I knew, how could I possibly write 50,000 words in thirty days? I’m already wiped out by the time I get home from work each day.
I hear you. When I started writing my novella in 2013, I was freelancing full-time, which only left mornings, evenings, and weekends to work on it. I also had no idea where my story was going, and only a vague notion of the nuances of my characters.
But I made the time and dove in anyway — writing myself out of at least one major corner. Doing so gave me a ton of confidence. It’ll do the same for you.
It’ll Help You to Establish a Writing Routine
After doing this for a couple of years, I’ve learned that if I get up an hour earlier than usual so I can write before I begin working on my freelance projects, and then write for one additional hour in the evening, I produce more words than if I tried to write for two or three hours in the evening.
After writing my second novella in 2014, I carried that writing routine over to the rest of the year and I’ve been able to write four nonfiction books (three of which have been released, with the other one coming out in November).
I don’t know what your schedule looks like, but if you can make time to write in November, then you can make time to write in December, and January, and February, and the rest of the year.
It’ll Give You Satisfaction
“Yes, there is a Nirvanah; it is leading your sheep to a green pasture, and in putting your child to sleep, and in writing the last line of your poem.” — Kahlil Gibran, Sand and Foam
If writing is in your blood, then you won’t be satisfied with just thinking or talking about it. You must engage in it. Only then will you feel the satisfaction of doing.
It’ll Connect You to a Writing Community
If you’ve ever felt like you were alone in your love for writing, NaNoWriMo could be exactly what you need. It has a thriving community of writers on its website (in the forums), and it encourages writers to gather in their communities (in groups called write-ins) throughout November to work on their novels together.
Last year, a group of five or six of us met a couple of times a week in my city and we inspired each other as we shared our passion and enthusiasm. These connections have carried over throughout the rest of the year.
It’ll Give You a Working Draft
I’m not the first to say this, but you cannot revise a blank page. You need to do the hard work of getting the story down on the page before you can shape it into what you really want it to say.
Your first draft doesn’t have to be perfect, or even good. Nobody will see it anyway, so write the story as it unfolds in your mind and worry about fixing it later.
If you decide to sign up for NaNoWriMo, and if you need somebody to cheer you on with a daily inspirational quote and message, along with offering five daily writing prompts, download a copy of my latest e-book Write That Book in 30 Days.
Lee Warren is a freelance writer and editor who has written twelve non-fiction books, one novella and hundreds of articles for various newspapers and magazines as well as edited more than 50 books that currently appear in print. He's a fan of NASCAR, baseball, tennis, books, movies and coffee shops.