Normally we give tips on writing, but this week I am going to change things up a little. Last week I provided tips for writing if you participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Since then I've had a number of people ask me why I take part every year and why it might be helpful for them to try NaNoWriMo. More than one person has indicated an interest, but the thought of writing 50,000 words in four weeks can be a little daunting. But don't despair. It can be done and you might find yourself enjoying it.
I know why I do it. I find that it helps me get a story written and November is a great month to do it. With the cold weather setting in so that I have to spend more time at home and because writing a novel now is a great way to wrap up the year and give me a sense of accomplishment, I really have grown to like the premise of writing a novel in November. So what are some of the benefits you might see if you take part in NaNoWriMo?
1. Getting something written before the end of the year. As I noted that is a big reason I like to do it. After spending months promising to get some writing done, having a month when writing is my total focus really sharpens the writing edge for the next few months and gets me through the winter.
2. The long hours can help sharpen discipline. The idea of having to write nearly two thousand words a day means you have to set aside some hours to work. Having to write that much for 30 days can make writing a thousand words a day seem a lot easier. That means setting a schedule and setting aside certain hours to write. All those words won't get written if you think you're going to write only a few minutes a day. Setting a schedule can help later when you think you don't have the time. Go back to the November schedule for a few days, or a full week later and before long you'll find yourself with a normal writing schedule.
3. Write that story you've been planning but haven't been able to start. Sometimes getting a story started is as simple as deciding to sit down and get going. By saying you're taking part in NaNoWriMo you can focus on starting on November 1 and just get going. That date provides a finite starting point and the idea of finishing by the end of the month gives you a definite date for finishing.
4. It can free you from your inner editor. Sometimes we get too focused on whether the words we're writing are good enough or all the mechanics of the writing process. Doing NaNoWriMo where the word count is all important can free you from going back and laboring over one sentence. Write it and move on. You don't have time to agonize.
5. Finally, there is the final (even if it needs work) product. At the end of the month you will have a novel written. It may not be your best work. It will undoubtedly need editing, but it will definitely be enough to work on to get the novel in shape to be published.
For the next month I will be focusing on other NaNo ideas. If you have something you'd like to share with me about your NaNo adventures, please email me at BeckyGMartinez@gmail.com .
And if you'd like to sign up to try it, here's the link -- www.nanowrimo.org
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