NaNoWriMo just started! This month also brings Thanksgiving, and the beginning of the Christmas shopping season, along with day light savings, and a slew of other things with family and friends. And yet we still decide to torture ourselves with writing 50,000 words in a month. What’s wrong with us?
I’ve done NaNoWriMo several years, and each year I learn something new about myself, and about my writing. I also get a lot from the experience in regards to social interaction and community. So this year as I start on my journey for NaNoWriMo I asked myself: why?
Deadlines help many people get to the end of projects, books, readings, videos, and many other things. Deadlines help enfource the notion that you have a set amount of time to get something done, and NaNo has a huge, vibrant, built in deadline already there for you.
Some of us do not find it that easy to make deadlines for ourselves. Therefore you can use NaNo. While you’re only really accountable to yourself, for most of us that’s enough. Lying about “winning” NaNo doesn’t hurt anyone, but if you can make that deadline it feels amazing.
There are SLEWS of people out there on every social media outlet, in coffee shops, video blogs, and everything else. All of them want to encourage you to write your book. That is so incredibly helpful.
Some people are competitive by nature. The buddy system on NaNo forums is awesome for tracking each of your buddies word counts and seeing where you stack up with them. I am rarely above, or even even with my buddies, but I still love trying to at least catch up with them.
Misery loves company, right? Well so do writers. Writing is such a lonely profession, or hobby, or whatever it is for you. Take the time to get to know a few people, make some friendships, and stay in contact with them after NaNo is over. The world of writing won’t seem quite as alone as it did before.
Similar to accountability, and deadlines. Only this has to do with word counts too. You’re goal, if you chose to accept it, is to write an entire novel. 50,000 words. That’s a lot of words. But goals help people. They keep them focused. Knowing exactly what you are trying to do will keep you going.
At the end of the day, achievement is the end all. Know you tried, and you succeeded, is an amazing feeling. Even if you don’t manage to finish, if you tried again and you got farther this time you’ve achieved something. For me, every year I learn something new about myself, and my writing style. THAT is an achievement in itself. If I can learn something that will help me keep writing in the years to come then I am all for NaNoWriMo.
Prizes are the last thing on the list. NaNoWriMo has a couple of great prizes, like free print copies of your book, and half price on Scrivener (the best writing program EVER). But they aren’t that big of a carrot. Really, you could easily fake winning NaNo and still get the prizes, but you