It’s almost time for NaNoWriMo!
Could it be? Are we actually approaching November 1st? Or the real question: Am I really doing this to myself AGAIN?
Completing NaNoWrimo is a feat I consider as one of my best. I have “won” (completed the challenge) twice in my life: both times in high school.
NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month: one of the biggest global challenges for writing. With an active online platform, merchandise, and fundraising, the event is quite massive.
But what is NaNoWriMo you may ask. Let me put it simply: 30 days, 50,000 words.
That is right. Within the month of November, millions of writers will try to, and finish a novel (50,000 words). With the support of local groups, recognized authors, and weekly pep talks, writers from ametuer to professional take on the challenge of completing their novel for a variety of goodies.
On their website nanorwrimo.org, you can find a variety of information further explaining the details of the program as well as sign up. Unlike some challenges, to receive the benefits of completion you must be registered on their website. There you will be able to do things like check your word count, donate to the cause, and submit your final word count at the end of the month to be declared a “winner.” A winner truly is anyone who completes 50,000 between November 1 and 30.
The great thing about NaNoWriMo is that you can write about anything you want. The purpose is to write your novel. Whether it be romance, historical fiction, horror, or science fiction: NaNo is there for you to participate in.
NaNoWriMo is a great platform for writers to kick off a new idea for a novel. They offer a variety of sources that are highly useful to writers who are new to novel writing. For example, there is a printable workbook available (for free) that helps in preplanning. NaNo’s twitter page also hosts prewriting events as while as sprints during the month to help you reach your goal. Overall, it is a supportive experience from a group of people looking to promote literacy.
You might think that this seems silly. Admittedly, it is a bit ridiculous. Much good writing takes time to complete. With a large word count and a short period of time, I have found that some of my writing during November is subpar to that written outside of November. Why? Because I enjoy the perks that come with meeting the goal. For example, one year I was offered discounted printing on my NaNo story if it was prepared by a date months in the future.
Although some of the writing done in November may be rushed and sub par, many authors have found success using NaNo as a launching point. The intent of completing NaNo is not to come out at the end of the month with a “ready to publish” piece. More than likely, what is written during NaNo will be a rough first draft. The draft that you have to make massive changes to. After all, the purpose of a first draft is just to get down the skeleton of the idea.
But, many authors have seen great success using NaNo as their launching point. The following are a list of books that were originally submitted to NaNoWriMo:
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress by Marissa Meyer
Being in high school, NaNo was not too difficult. Although being a teenager completing a novel is daunting, time was available for me to write. During breaks in class or at lunch I could whip out my tablet and rush out a few hundred words.
Now I am in college and things are a little bit different. Instead of having menial classes that can easily be passed with little attention, college courses require attention during lectures. During a college class, going off to write during class is not a good idea. In fact, I believe it would cause a negative impact on my grades now more than ever.
Even though I am in college and fear that I may be on more of a time crunch, I will still be participating in the 2016 NaNo. I encourage any writer who has considered writing a novel to give the challenge a shot. Although this was not how I wrote my first novel length piece, it helped in the second two.
NaNo is helpful because you are not alone. Many times writing is seen as a process of seclusion. I believe that this is how writers block creeps in sometimes. With NaNo, you will be surrounded by support online. On the Wittenberg campus, our creative writing group will be hosting write-ins and other activities to encourage participants to finish.If you are considering writing a novel, NaNoWriMo is a good starting point.