November is National Novel Writing Month. The goal is simple: complete your first novel draft within a month. Target word count: 50,000 words. I can tell you that this is a lot easier said than done. It's a challenge for any writer, whether you're a budding beginner or an excellent expert, this challenge is a real challenge. Whether you reach that target word count or not before December, you can learn some valuable skill sets as a writer. As they always say, it's not the winning but the taking part that counts.
I think it's easy for a lot of people to feel the need to beat themselves up over their low word count or are worried that their word count is not as good as they planned. NaNoWriMo is not for everybody, but if you still want to do it, you shouldn't feel bad if you don't write a lot of words or forget to write any at all. Sometimes life gets in the way and things happen in real life. You are not a loser for falling behind on NaNoWriMo.
There are pros and cons with taking part in the challenge. Some will say you will never make a novel worth selling in less than a month and others say most of it will end up as frilly rubbish. But it's only the first draft, you can edit it as many times as you like later on. Even though it can be stressful trying to fit all these words in around your work schedule, I believe that the pros far outweigh the cons.
My only regret with NaNoWriMo is not doing it sooner. It's not just about the word count, it goes far beyond that. NaNoWriMo goes further with fundraising events, community events, a forum, and even meet ups. It's truly a big motivator for writing and since taking part I have noticed that my productivity and confidence has increased.
The community spirit in the write-ins has been incredible. All the writers in my network of groups have been supportive and extremely helpful along the way. I could not be any more thankful to them. I believe it's wrong to see other writers as rivals. I think it's the wrong way to think.
The atmosphere is wonderful. Knowing that other writers are out there working on their masterpieces makes me want to work even harder. Writing and finishing a book is a wonderful feeling of excitement and joy. I haven't made a lot of money, nor am I famous, but all the feedback I've received has been extremely useful.
I think we should write because we enjoy writing and everything else is just icing on the cake. Money and feedback are nice though, but it's not the main reason we write. We write because we love creating things, we love exploring and creating different words. We love making our minds travel whilst only our hands do all the moving.
Being a NaNoWriMo participant has made me more confident as a writer. It's also helped me become more aware of myself and what I want to write and how to process my thoughts as a writer. Whilst doing NaNoWriMo, I'm also taking part in a writing course which has also helped me stimulate work. Even though not all my works can count towards the word count towards my novel, I feel that the work I have produced has become stronger.
With that in mind, I don't think it's ever too late to join NaNoWriMo. You might still be able to write something awesome. The write-ins are a fun experience. You can bring a laptop, tablet, notepad, or anything you use to write with which is nice. It's also nice how it's open to all ages. All the write-ins I've been to there has been a mixture of people of all ages.
I've also gained some valuable industry knowledge. I've been given access to other writing groups and other publishing houses that are open to submissions of all kinds. NaNoWriMo has sparked a passion for writing. I've always loved writing, but NaNoWriMo has made be bolder and more excited to share the work that I have created.
As we come to the end of this article I would like to share a good list of the top ten benefits of joining NaNoWriMo.
- Community Spirit
- Learning to be confident in my work.
- Getting valuable advice.
- Learning to work with deadlines.
- Inspiring people.
- Getting inspired.
- Learning about the powers of networking.
- Sharing our work ideas.
- Getting and receiving support from others.
- Reaching goals.