So, I’ve referenced it a few times, and I’ll reference it hundreds more before we’re done. National Novel Writing Month. What is it?
Basically, it’s this. A nonprofit, online-only event aimed at encouraging writers to finish 50,000 words during November. That’s right. 30 days to write 50,000 words. Even for professional authors, that’s hard.
Here’s why you should do it.
- It encourages you to get off your butt. Every other month of the year, you can write at your leisure. Except professional authors, we don’t have deadlines. Which means we can take a break to binge Doctor Who, and there aren’t any consequences. During November, you have to write 1,667 words every DAY to stay afloat. Miss one, and you’re screwed. So turn off Netflix and get writing.
- It connects you with a global community of writers. Every genre, even fanfiction, is represented, in every country across the world. And what’s more, everyone who participates is just as engaged and passionate about it as you. There’s a healthy mix of published and aspiring authors, and everyone is ready to help. Where else can you find that?
- It connects you with a local community of writers. Ever wonder who writes in your neighborhood? Now you know. When you join NaNo, you’re connected into a local “region,” and from there you can see all the participants in the area. You have your own forum to post questions, concerns, or just talk about nearby events.
- Two words. Write Ins. 11 months out of the year, writing is a solitary hobby. Typically it’s you, sitting in a distraction-free room with your laptop and a cup of coffee. But in November, your region’s ML (municipal liaison, AKA planning guru) creates public events, and suddenly you’re writing with twenty other people in a coffee shop. Helping them plot their novels. Reading excerpts. Having competitions to see who can write more words in 10 minutes. It’s social. And that’s awesome.
- You make lifelong friends. 2015 was the 7th year I’ve done NaNo. Ever since Year 5, I’ve taken in a newbie. (That’s someone who’s brand new to the event, in case you’ve never browsed the internet ever.) And you know what? Over the month of sweat, tears, and determination, you form bonds with these strangers. I still talk to my newbies on facebook, and it’s so awesome to see them come back to NaNo year after year! (Hi Lezlie and Martha!)
- It tests your dedication to writing. Keep thinking of how great it’d be to become a famous author? Yep, me too. But you know what? To do that, you have to actually write. (Say whaaaa??) I know, I know. If you think you have what it takes, NaNo will either make or break you. And you’ll know yourself a bit better at the end.
- It’s a quick way to get a manuscript. Let me be clear. I’m not saying your manuscript will be good. There’s a reason everyone dubs December as the Month of Editing. But if you’ve wanted to write a book, NaNo is like ripping off a bandaid. 30 days, and you’re done. (… That’d be one excruciating bandaid.)
- Their forums are the greatest place on the internet. Imagine a place where you can ask literally any question. Now imagine the responses are not only earnest, but have excellent grammar and spelling. That’s what NaNoWriMo gives us here.
- It’s a great place to farm ideas for the New Year. Finished your NaNo novel and want to write something new, but don’t know where to start? Check out the Adoption Society forum. By December, there will be pages upon pages of unwanted plots waiting for you.
- The progress bar. This bar. It’s in the front page of your NaNo profile, and you can log your word count every day. And every day, you can compare your progress against the Line of Destiny (see below). I don’t know anyone who doesn’t update their word count at least three times every day. It’s addicting. And frankly, inspiring.
So what are you waiting for? Go make an account! Then come back, because I have lots of awesome posts awaiting your attention.
November hasn’t come yet, after all.