NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and happens in November, cold and quiet month of late fall. Chilling weather, hot spicy tea, and blankets create an atmosphere which is conducive to writing.
The rule of NaNoWriMo is: write 1,666 words per day to finish a 50 000 words novel by the end of November. If you make it, you are the winner. If you don’t, nothing bad happens – you can continue your work with goal trackers or alternatively postpone it till Camp NaNoWriMo (similar event that happens in April).
But returning to November: each November thousands of aspiring writers start their novels, and this is awesome. So much will to write, so much motivation, writing in a group, meeting other people, sharing you chapters and scenes with the world…
But should we all participate in this 30 days long marathon? Is NaNoWriMo for everyone?
My answer is:
If you haven’t done it yet, then you should at least consider it. It’s a fun experience and it’s one of the ways to validate your journey as a writer. Especially if you’ve never written a novel and need an extra push to do your best. Then, NaNoWriMo is the perfect time for you.
However, I do believe that NaNoWriMo isn’t for everyone. Here is what I have learned after participating in NaNoWriMo 2017 and Camp NaNoWriMo 2018:
- It’s difficult. Not everyone is capable of writing 1,666 words per day. Word count depends on many factors like time, inspiration, amount of things to say, life situation, duties to perform, state of mind etc. I wrote more about it in my article Review of “2k to 10k” by Rachel Aaron: is writing 10k words per day truly possible?
- It puts you under pressure. Because, if you write any less than 1666 words (which is very likely if you write anything less than than on a regular basis), the deficit will accumulate over time and you will have even more and more to write to make up for it. Which is stressing, frustrating and…
- It makes you freewrite. If you haven’t read my article Why you should stop freewriting right now, do it now. When you force yourself to write and focus on reaching a certain word count, the quality of your work plummets. You might have written 50 000 words by the end of November, but how much of that is actually worthy of being published? How much must be corrected or even removed from the text?
- You start comparing yourself to more efficient writers. NaNoWriMo is a competition and statistics are readily available. There are people with 70 000 words crafted by the middle of the month. When you see these people, and compare their results to your 10 000 words and huge word count deficit, it’s easy to get depressed and discouraged, and give up.
- If you haven’t prepared well, you are likely to fail. 1666 words per day is 11662 words per week, which equals 20 pages. To write 20 pages weekly and 80 pages monthly you must have something to talk about. To sit down on first November and write a book without any plan is incredibly hard, especially if you are still an aspiring writer who doesn’t have so much novel writing experience yet.
- It might distract you from your other writing goals. What if you are busy editing the novel you’ve written in the summer? What if you need to promote a book that you’ve just published? Each writer is on a different journey. I write intensively from January to September, and from October to December I just want to rest, refuel and plan my work for the next year.
There are different ways in which you can celebrate NaNoWriMo. For example, you can:
- Support another NaNoWriMo participant. Reading someone else’s work and providing feedback is a huge motivator.
- Adjust NaNoWriMo to your current goals. For example, if you want to write poems, write a poem per day. Or, if you need to prepare marketing materials for your book, create one marketing material (e.g. banner) per day. You might also choose to write a short story.
I hope that this article will help you decide if and how you’d like to celebrate NaNoWriMo. I will write another article soon on how to prepare for NaNoWriMo to maximize your chances for success. Stay inspired!