Do you want to take part in NaNoWriMo this year? It's less than two months away and if you're planning on taking part, now is the time to start preparing. For those who haven't come across it before, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and it's an event that unites writers all over the world for the duration of November. In a nutshell, you have to write a first draft of a novel - 50,000 words - during that one month. That's very, very hard. Even though it means not having much of a social life for four weeks, I think it's a great thing to take part in. As this is related to my day job and my personal life, I couldn't miss the opportunity here to encourage everyone take part in NaNoWriMo this year!
1. Writers Write
This is the most important thing you'll get out of the challenge if you take part in NaNoWriMo. Out of all the advice on writing I've read, this is the one that comes up the most. You have to write and normally, you have to write a lot, because your first draft isn't going to be perfect. NaNoWriMo is the perfect incentive to start getting those words on paper - if you have an idea for a novel and you've been dancing around starting the actual writing process, sign up to this. It won't be perfect at the end but you'll have 50,000 words to build on.
2. Practice Makes Perfect
I've never heard of a writer who has sat down and written a perfect manuscript. Writing is a craft like any other and the only way to get good at it is by practising. Who cares if only 20,000 of the original 50,000 remain once you've got your final novel draft? If it's what you need to get started, then it's got to be worth doing.
3. It's Only Four Weeks
Ok, so you probably won't have a social life in November if you do this. It's going to be a getting to work and then writing until bed kind of situation (depending on how fast you can write). At the end of the day, it's only four weeks and you can plan your time so that you get nights off. November is a cold, dark month - spend the evenings writing by candlelight with a hot toddy. That's how I can see myself doing it, anyway....
4. It's Fun!
If you are a writer, I'm guessing it's not for the money. It's probably because you enjoy it. So, although NaNoWriMo is obviously a challenge, it should be something you actually really enjoy doing. Fun + a sense of achievement - what more could you ask for! And you could make some new writer friends along the way - NaNoWriMo is a strong community.
5. It's up to You What You Decide to do
Do you ever write something and think 'eurgh, that's the worst thing anyone has ever written'? I do and then I spend ages tinkering with it. You can't do that with NaNoWriMo - the idea is to get the words down. Remember that no one is reading it except you and no one ever has to read it if you don't think it's good enough. Don't cringe at what you've written - you can fix it once you've reached 50,000!
6. It's a Community
There aren't many times where hundreds of thousands of other writers will be in exactly the same position as you. You can sign up to the official NaNoWriMo website, track your progress, read inspiring advice and join in with live events. You even get a certificate at the end.
7. It Could Be Your Debut
Finally, of course, the dream. What you write during NaNoWriMo could be your debut novel. Sure, it may look very different by the time it's ready but it'll exist, in part at least, because you did this challenge. Isn't it worth giving it a go?
Are you ready and raring to go now?! If you do decide you want to take on the challenge, there's loads of free advice out there from both published and unpublished writers who've done it in the past. I recommend doing all the research you can and getting started on a plan. You might not have time once 1st November comes around! Who's taking part? Do you have any tips?