Many authors take years to write a book. They labor for weeks over every chapter, every paragraph, every sentence, every word. I chose to write my novel in a month.
I knew the only way I was going to get it done was with the proper ‘kick in the pants’. Enter NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo is a friendly challenge/competition that occurs yearly during the month of November (November is National Novel Writer’s Month, thus the acronym). Participants are challenged to write 50,000 words – about the length of a novel – over the course of the month. You create an account on the website and log in your daily word count to see how you measure up to achieving your goal. But, just as important, you see how you measure up against other participants all around the world.
Most people use the challenge as an anti-procrastination tactic to finally get to that novel they’ve always wanted to write. There’s also a lot of comradery/competition with other writers going through the exact same thing, which was a great motivator for me to keep working towards my goal.
I have to admit, I had a blast! It was hard, don’t get me wrong, but it was so much fun to work on my novel at that time. I just let myself go with my writing, I didn’t worry about sub-plot or genre or character arcs or anything. I just read a couple books on how to write a novel and then planned my book as I read. Then, when the first of the month came, I just started writing. I didn’t stop to think about if it was good or not, I just wrote. I know I probably did a lot of things wrong, but frankly, I don’t give a fudge! Really! It was too much fun to have fun with it.
I’m in the editing stages of the book now so I’m trying to make something of the mess I’ve created. I don’t know if it’ll ever be something I show to anyone other than my family, but like I said, I enjoyed the experience of writing it for NaNoWriMo so much, I don’t really care!
What is it about NaNoWriMo that makes it so special? Maybe it’s the comradery you get with all the other writers experiencing the same grueling circumstances as you. Hammering out about 1,660 words a day. Every day. Some people reach 50,000 words, some don’t. It’s all dependent upon your own tenacity and spirit. And how much fun you decide to have with it. Because in the end, if it isn’t worth all the sacrifice, why do it?