With one week to go before the event officially begins, I have completed more than half of my summary/outline. I’m fairly confident that this approach will put me in the best position to just sit down and bang out words every day. NaNo is all about daily word counts, which is a metric fraught with inherent tension.
Over the past year, I’ve had enough discipline to get my butt in a chair and write every day. So far this year, I’ve been able to write at least one hour per day on a consistent basis. Now is my chance to ‘up my game’ so to speak and take things to a new level. Since NaNo has been on my radar for quite some time now, I’ve found it relatively easy to form ideas about what I’m getting myself into with this event.
NaNoWriMo trains writers in process, not craft
The process side of writing is something rarely covered in schools. Sure, they teach you how to hold a pen and write with it, but after the fundamental basics, you’re on your own. Everyone has their personal way to approach the activity.
As with any activity, when you’re new at it, you have to figure out what works for you. Then you just play to your strengths as often as you can. Some write better in a quiet place; others need music or the hustle and bustle of a lively cafe for their background environments.
Going through the process of this month-long challenge helps writers do a few things:
- It Helps with Discipline
The event is organized in such a way that it builds a sense of accountability and community. When you connect with others, all focused on the same goal, meeting daily/weekly targets is important. It’s easier to get your butt in a chair, bang on a keyboard to post up a word count when you know others will notice if you don’t. Doing that for a month makes doing that on your own afterward that much easier.
- It gives you permission to suck
Turning off one’s inner editor to just finish the manuscript is a big hurdle to get over. Even published authors sometimes struggle with it as they sit down to write something new. When the primary goal is just to finish something, it’s far easier to accomplish when others are there to spur you on to keep on task. The temptation to re-write or revise while going along can be enormous at times. The process of NaNo reminds writers that done is better than perfect. There’s time for perfect in January/February when it becomes time to edit/revise.
- It helps turn a solitary endeavor into a group activity
By linking writers both physically and virtually, NaNo fosters a sense of fellowship among writers. This community aspect of the event is the part that I’m most excited to experience. It’s also the aspect of the NaNo that people seem to talk about the most.
- It helps you do something
Whether you complete your first draft of a manuscript in the month of November or not, just finishing it is a huge accomplishment. That’s my goal this year. NaNoWriMo considers you a ‘winner’ if you write at least 50,000 words and that’s an admirable goal. But whatever goal a person sets, just getting to that point or beyond, is great! Execution always trumps ideas. Lots of people have ideas for novels, but how many commit to getting them drafted into a manuscript of any kind? Too few, and that’s why NaNoWriMo exists.
What is NaNoWriMo?
NaNoWriMo is the abbreviated name of National Novel Writing Month. It’s a month-long event for writers of all kinds. NaNo takes place every November, and this is my first year of participation. Essentially, it’s a contest that you have with yourself to write at least 50,000 words in 30 days. My “I Signed Up” post has more details about what I’ve pledged to accomplish this year.
Connect with Q
If you’re signed up for NaNoWriMo too and want to be my writer-buddy on that platform, my user name is Quartknee – I know, shocker, right?
Otherwise, if you have a question or comment, please connect with me on one of these social channels.
I started a YouTube channel to document my ‘novel writing adventure’. Please check out the videos I’ve posted. If you like what you see, please like and subscribe. As a new channel, I need all the support I can muster. Thanks.