For many years I have been listing to myself all the brilliant reasons to do NaNoWriMo, and this year I am finally committing to it. NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month, and it takes place from November 1st to 30th every year. It involves committing to writing 50,000 words in a month (a long novella, a short novel, or a good portion of a full-length novel), which roughly averages to writing about 1,666 words per day. It is a big commitment, but the reasons to do NaNoWriMo are well worth the rewards.
1. You Want to Write a Novel
This is the most obvious of the many reasons to do NaNoWriMo, and is the reason that pulls tens of thousands of people in every year. If you have wanted to write a novel for years, but have simply not set aside the time, or you haven’t committed yourself fully, NaNoWriMo is the time to do it. With the support of thousands of other prospective authors, you will put your nose to the computer screen and eject 50,000 words towards your dream. It’s not easy, and it will not leave you with a completed, copy-ready novel, but it is a huge step in that direction. When it comes down to it, NaNoWriMo is for people you who want to write the book they’ve been dreaming about for years.
2. Free-Writing is Your Friend
One of the things I stress when people ask me about NaNoWriMo is that I’m writing 50,000 words TOWARDS my book… not my book. NaNoWriMo requires that you write 50,000 words to be a "winner." The guidelines really stop there. If you are trying to flesh out your characters, plot, storyline, or world, use those words to do so. Free-write conversations, scenes, heck, whole chapters from a confusing character’s point of view. Free-write about the setting, the backstory… really, anything goes. And at the end of the month, all that free-writing will have led you to a much clearer, more fleshed out view of the world you are trying to build, and the people who live there.
3. You Have Trouble Setting Aside Time to Write
NaNoWriMo is awesome because it’s a nation-wide phenomenon. If you have not been able to structure your time in a way that allows for writing, this is the best excuse you are going to find. Tell EVERYONE YOU KNOW that you are doing NaNoWriMo. Then, if they don’t know, tell them what it is. Tell them all how much you have to write per day, and make them promise not to hang out with you, bother you, or let you leave your desk until you’re done. If you can’t manage your own time, fill your loved ones in on what you’re doing… they’ll happily do it for you!
4. You Are Addicted to Editing
Can you make it three pages without going back to the beginning and changing everything you’ve written? If your answer is no, then you, my friend, have a bit of an editing addiction. I sometimes suffer from this same affliction. Not to worry, though: NaNoWriMo is the perfect cure. For the entire month of November, you have a word count to fill every single day. This, plus your day to day life, will leave you no time for editing. Consider NaNoWriMo your personal editing cold turkey: JUST SAY NO.
5. But All the Cool Kids Are Doing It!
Mark this date on your calendar: this is the only time you will ever hear (er… read) me say that you should do something because all the cool kids are doing it. Because when it comes to NaNoWriMo, it’s the truth! People think that writing is a lonely business, and it is. No one can write the story dancing about in your brain. But that does not mean you should go it alone! Support is necessary to write a novel, and you will never have more support than during NaNoWriMo. Join the cool kids… writing is just easier when you have NaNoWriMo writing buddies.
6. You Just Want to Know if You Can
Not everyone has a novel tap dancing around in their brain, begging for release. But NaNoWriMo is a test of dedication and perseverance, and just wanting to know if you can handle it is reason enough to try! Can you go thirty days of writing at least 1,666 words per day without a break? Do you have the self-control to dodge distractions and put pen to paper in order to write 50,000 words in one month? If you’ve ever wondered if you could do it, now is the time to try!
7. You Love to Write
Maybe your reason for doing NaNoWriMo is the purest of all: you simply love writing. The idea of setting aside time to write 1,666+ words a day sounds heavenly to you. Heck, maybe you do it on a regular basis, and just want to join in for the group support! If you love to write, NaNoWriMo is the perfect outlet for you. It will allow you to explain away your desire to stay home and write instead of hitting the pub with your friends: I can’t guys. I have my NaNoWriMo word count to focus on!
Whatever your reason, being a NaNoWriMo winner come December is a fabulous reward. If you want to check out what I’m talking about, go to nanowrimo.org and sign up. My username is KearAnne if you’d like to be writing buddies! So are any of you doing NaNoWriMo this year? Are you excited or terrified (or a little bit of both)?