November is quickly approaching, and to many authors this month is one of frantic typing, scribbling, or even dictating. That’s because November is NaNoWriMo — National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo is a month-long challenge where authors push themselves to write 50,000 words in their next novel over the course of one month.
I don’t participate in NaNoWriMo. I have my own schedule and writing style that work well for me, and I prefer to keep it that way rather than artificially push myself during one arbitrary month. That said, I don’t think NaNoWriMo is a bad thing. In fact, I think it’s a great thing for many authors. Here’s why:
- NaNoWriMo puts authors in a combination of a community and competitive environment. While it doesn’t suit me personally, I can see how that might offer immense motivation to other writers. Sometimes this is a lonely business and it’s nice to know you aren’t going through the grueling process of writing a novel alone.
- NaNoWriMo forces writers to think about improving their productivity. When left to our own devices, it’s easy to get caught up in a less-than-optimal routine. For authors who haven’t found their perfect writing schedule, location, etc., making yourself write a novel in a short period of time can push you to figure out those things. Then you’ll have an easier time with your next book, November or not.
- NaNoWriMo emphasizes an important part of getting your first draft down — that it’s okay for the first draft to be crap. That’s right. You won’t write a masterpiece while you rush through the first draft in a month. But that’s not the point of a rough draft. The point is to get the ideas down in some kind of tangible form. You make your masterpiece later, during the editing process. NaNoWriMo pushes authors to let go of their inner editor for a month and focus on getting the story down rather than agonizing over every chapter along the way.
Will you take part in NaNoWriMo this year? Have you read anything from an author who completed their book during NaNoWriMo in a previous year? Tell me about it in the comments.