NaNoWriMo: a completely biased account of why you should do it

National Novel Writing Month – NaNoWriMo – is coming up. For those of you that don’t know, NaNoWriMo takes place all through November, challenging people to write a 50k novel in a month

“no way!” I hear you cry, “you can’t write a good novel in a month!”

Well, I’ll see your good but unfinished novel, and raise you a crappy finished one any day.

The entire premise of NaNoWriMo is that for the whole month, you lose your inner-editor. If yours is anything like mine, then you should understand just how difficult that would be, as well as how liberating. You have the freedom to just write, with none of the pressure of having to write well. You get the words on the page, something that we all pretend is easy until we actually try to do it. Once you’ve got that far, you’ve won half the battle.

Come the end of November, you brush the empty food wrappers and crumpled sheets of paper off your desks, clear away your empty coffee mugs, and lock your finished novel away in a drawer. Come back to it in January. A new year, and a new take on your novel. Read it from an objective point of view, and edit it then, and only then.

The main reason I love NaNoWriMo though, is the motivation it gives you. You can make an account on the website, and you receive updates and encouragements from writers, you can join your own writing group, see which countries and regions are achieving the best word counts and get competitive. There is pressure to write, which most unpublished novelists don’t have.

You’ll be stressed, you’ll be writing poorly and frantically some nights, and there will be bad days, bad weeks even. But you’ll be sharing all of this with other writers, frantically typing or scrawling along just the same as you, aiming for the same goals as you. With such a solitary exercise as writing, how often do you get that?

I’m going to give it a go. So could you. 1667 words a day. We can do this.


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