Yikes! It’s NaNoWriMo Eve Eve!
Never mind Halloween. All over the world people are trembling, quaking, wondering what on earth they’ve got themselves into, while others are rolling their sleeves up, clearing the decks, and making ready.
It must be time for NaNoWriMo! National Novel Writing Month, if you haven’t met. 50,000 words. 1 month.
This will be my third time, and appropriately I shall be writing a third-in-series book, A Fete Worse Than Death. I feel reasonably ready (she said cautiously). I have a title, a fully-mapped character arc, and a plot breakdown on 20 post-it notes. Plus (bonus item) a VERY rough sketch of the cover!
What is it about NaNoWriMo, exactly? I mean, you could do it any time, and with Bonfire Night, Thanksgiving and the run-up to C********, it’s not the most convenient month. Yet here we are again.
I reread my blog post from 2015, the first time I signed up, and there’s a definite air of ‘what am I doing?’ about it. Which is perfectly normal. The first time someone mentioned NaNo to me, my first thought was ‘But why? Why would anyone do that?’
So here are five reasons why.
- If you’ve ever thought ‘I’d like to write a book,’ here’s your chance. Lots of people will be doing that in November, so you can feel normal.
- You may be thinking ‘There’s no way I can write 50,000 words in a month.’ Well, there’s one way to find out, and that is to try. Maybe you won’t quite get there. Maybe you’ll write 20K, or 35K, or 40K. Maybe life will get in the way, or you’ll find that your book idea wraps itself up in 25K, which is fine. Start another one, and keep going. Whatever happens, you’ll have learnt something about yourself as a writer. You’ll probably have written more words than you ever thought you could. And maybe you’ll get to 60K, like I did my first time.
- NaNoWriMo is geared to spur you on and gamify the experience. The site has badges for participation and word count, and a graph to keep track of your words. Get your badges, and make those stats climb!
- NaNoWriMo is also about community. If you aren’t in one, join a writing group (online or IRL), and someone (or many someones) will be doing NaNo. Talk about how you’re finding it, where you’re stuck, do writing sprints, offer support, cheer each other on. I’ll be with the same bunch of writing buddies as I have been the last two times, and I’m looking forward to it. The only downside is that as they’re all in the US/Canada, they do writing sprints when I’m asleep. Sneaky!
- ‘But what about quality?’ I’ve heard all sorts of variants on this one, re: ‘churning out words for the sake of it,’ etc. First of all, fast writing isn’t necessarily bad writing. Getting a draft out quickly, and writing most days, helps you to maintain focus on your story and keep up the flow. If you want to agonise over every word, fine – you’ll probably end up editing half of it out anyway. NaNoWriMo is about getting the first draft down, not about producing a finished book. You can fix anything in the edit. Just not in November. 😉
What are you waiting for?
I’ll probably be posting sporadically about my NaNoWriMo progress over the next month, so if you see a rhino on my social media feed, you know what to expect.
And if you join me, happy writing! Let me know how you’re getting on (or find me on the site and we can buddy up).