Whether you’ve already announced it to the world that you’re all in this November or you just stumbled onto NaNoWriMo and what it is and you’ve never written anything before, I’m going to share with you:
- why you should definitely consider participating this year
- why NaNoWriMo is awesome, and
- what you should be doing to start strong on November 1st.
I first did NaNoWriMo in 2011. If this isn’t your first time with me, you’ve probably heard this story before.
I was student teaching, I was about seven months pregnant, and I was in college. It was my first time writing a book, finally, after tons of false starts, and I did it.
I wrote 50,000 words and crossed the finish line. That book was complete garbage, but it was the beginning for me and how I eventually became an indie author.
After 2011, I didn’t participate in NaNoWriMo again until 2014. I was a teacher during that time. Enough said.
But ever since 2014, I’ve written 50,000 words each November to create a 4-year streak now.
Which I didn’t even know about until the NaNoWriMo people sent me an email, like, are you signing up this year or what because you’ve got this 4-year streak going on? So how can I not do it now, right?
More about that later. First I want to talk about why you should totally do NaNoWriMo this year. Let’s dive in, shall we?
1. The Community and New Friends You'll Find
You get to take part in this thing that’s way bigger than yourself. You get to hang out with like-minded writers on the NaNoWriMo forums and on Twitter.
It’s like running a 5k or a marathon. It’s up to you to finish, but you’re also not alone.
There are people pushing you and encouraging you along the way, writers struggling to get their words in at the end of a long day just like you. Writers with kids or a day job or health issues (or all of the above), but they’re all trucking along with you towards the same end point.
Half the fun is definitely making new friends along the way and encouraging each other.
2. The Friendly Competition (Which Will Help You Write Faster)
Like I said, you’re not alone. You’ll have tons of encouragement if you go on Twitter or the NaNoWriMo forums.
But sometimes that’s not enough.
It’s like that 5k again. One of the thing that motivates me the most when I do a 5k is trying to get ahead of the person in front of me and staying ahead of them. Or making sure that other person behind me stays behind me so that I stay on track and don’t give up.
NaNoWriMo is the same way. If you’re like me, you like to win and you’re a little competitive :) And not just the 50K goal but with daily word sprints against other writers.
It makes your daily word count goal a lot more fun and faster to accomplish too.
You can find other writers to sprint with through the NaNoWriMo forums or Twitter. My favorite hashtags to search are #NaNoWriMo, #nanowordsprints, #wordmongering, #1k1hr, and #1k30min.
Find the whole list of hashtags along with tons of other helpful NaNoWriMo tips (including my go-to recipe so I don’t spend all day cooking instead of writing) at writermom.net/blog/nanowrimo-tips
3. You Can Focus Solely on Progress for 30 Days
Some people call this fast drafting, which means it’s about getting the story out onto paper as quickly as you can. It’s not forever.
It’s just 30 days of you doing your best to reach your word count goal, and by the end of it, you’ll have a novel or a good part of a novel finished.
If you’ve been lagging lately like me, it’s the perfect way to jumpstart a daily habit again. It’s been at least 3-4 months since I’ve first drafted a novel, so I’m definitely ready to jump back in and start writing again, this time on a new project.
Once you’re used to writing 1667 words a day, sitting down to do 500 words or 1000 words a day will be a breeze for you.
4. You're Allowed To Be a Rebel
Yes, there’s a 50k finish line, which you technically have to cross to win, but there are tons of writers just participating to meet their own personal word count goal by the end of the month. This is completely fine.
It’s more about the community and making progress on your goals. If you have the time and energy during November to get to the 50k finish line, that’s great.
But no worries if it’s going to be a crazy time for you, and you want to do 20k instead or whatever number it is.
Maybe you just want to write every single day, no matter the word count goal.
Like I said, NaNoWriMo is a great way to jumpstart a daily writing habit. The point is, if 50k isn’t right for you, that’s completely fine.
You won’t be alone.
Are You In?
So let me know in the comments if you’re participating in NaNoWriMo this November and moving forward on your next writing project!
Leave a link to your profile in the comments so everyone can add you as well.
As for me, I’m working really hard so I can have an outline for my next novel soon because I’d hate to mess up that 4-year streak :)
But I’m still in the market research phase of my next series, so I may not finish outlining in time to complete 50,000 words in November, which is why I'll be dictating to help me get to that 50k finish line if possible.
I won't know unless I try!
What You Should Be Doing Now
Between now and November 1st, you should focus on outlining your novel and fleshing out your characters and world so that on November 1st you’re ready to start drafting without getting stuck somewhere along the middle.
This is where I’ve struggled in the past: not having an outline or beats that are detailed enough to keep me writing at full-speed without having to stop and think about what to write next.
So make sure you’re spending time during the next several days outlining and fleshing out your novel as much as possible.
Either way, see you on November 1st!