It’s that most wonderful time of the year: shopping deals are starting, daylight savings just let you sleep in one more hour, and, oh, thousands of writers just began the first draft of their novel with the full intention of finishing 50,000 words in one month.
That’s right boys, girls, and writers of all genders, it’s National Novel Writing Month (known as NaNoWriMo) and it officially began the 1st of November. NaNoWriMo is what it says it is, a whole month dedicated to sitting down and writing that novel you always said you would. The goal is to write 50,000 words in a month and have a full first draft of your novel by the end. To do so means writing 1,667 words a day, every day, for the full month of November.
It’s a rough challenge, mostly accomplished through: dedication, setting up a stringent regimen of writing habits, challenging yourself alongside friends, and being willing to write that really bad first draft.
But NaNoWriMo is so much more than writing a novel or 1,667 words a day. It’s a community of people who band together every year to scream over the Internet about the joys and perils and hardships and victories of writing. It’s a way to build your skills as a writer. It’s a form of self care in a way, declaring that this time is mine, to do what I want to do with and, gosh darn it, I’m going to write a novel! It’s beating that inner editor, finding the joy in writing for writing’s sake, and just having fun with writing again.
I’ve won NaNoWriMo once and have been competing for a while, even though school often forces me to reprioritize my month. Which is fine; I think the most important thing is that you’re getting out there and writing. There’s a thrill to winning that never really leaves you, and even when you “lose” you still come away with this sense of accomplishment that is unmatched, because you created something. And the something is so great and wholly unique to you that it doesn’t matter what genre it is or how well it’s written, it just matters that it is.
It doesn’t matter if your novel is good or not. It doesn’t matter if your novel is esoteric and weird. It doesn’t matter if it’s going to be published someday or not. It doesn’t even matter if it’s fanfiction or not. Just as long as you’re writing.
So go out there and try. Happy NaNoWriMo!
Find out more about NaNoWriMo at www.nanowrimo.org and join a community of other writers there!