7 Reasons to Take Part in NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo mug

You might need a lot of coffee to write 50,000 words in one month, but the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel at the end is sure to be worth it.
Photo by qrevolution (Flickr)

It sounds mad: thousands of writers dedicated to the idea of writing a 50,000-word novel in one month. November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and as many veterans of this annual practice are getting their index cards and outlines ready, we at Online Writing Jobs thought we might encourage our awesome writers to take part. According to the official website, “NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought fleetingly about writing a novel.” If you’ve been thinking about writing your novel, here are the top seven reasons why you should join in:

To Get Those Awesome Bragging Rights

Like someone who’s lost 100 pounds or who’s climbed a mountain at 60, a writer who’s finished that word count on time has earned those sweet bragging rights. It might not make you the best writer in the whole world. At the end of the month, you might just have 50,000 words of a mess of a novel, with hasty character development or a poor plot. But you know what? You’ll have 50,000 words done, and that’s freaking sweet. You’ll also get a pretty cool digital badge you can put on your personal website, too.

Photo by Anne-Lise Heinrichs (Flickr)

Photo by Anne-Lise Heinrichs (Flickr)

To Connect With Other Writers

Many people have an image of a fiction or freelance writer typing alone in a dark room, but many, many writers have, at the very least, a network of people who offer help, inspiration, advice, and guidance. Meeting up with other writers can increase you chances of actually finishing on time, and it may even lead to lasting friendships. NaNoWriMo often offers the opportunity to attend local write-in sessions or to plan your novel with other writers. Usually, coffee is consumed en masse.

To Prove It to Yourself

People who I’ve know who’ve finished NaNoWriMo on time puff out their chest a bit and stand a bit straighter when they talk about what they’ve accomplished. They’re proud, especially when they really, really thought they couldn’t do it. That boost of self-efficacy is great for a writer. The encouragement and satisfaction that one feels after so much self-doubt makes great fuel for more writing down the road.

Wurdcount lolcats

Photo by mpclemens (Flickr)

To Develop a Steady Writing Schedule

How often do you write your own fiction? Not as often as you want? Well, NaNoWriMo demands that you fit your writing into your busy life. Usually, by the end, you’ve developed a tight writing schedule. Moving forward, you can continue to have this rhythm, leading to more word count and a block of time every week that works for you.

To Learn From Failures

Sometimes, NaNoWriMo really, really doesn’t work for some people. They end their month unhappily, whether they haven’t completed the goal, they’ve missed the mark of their dream novel, or they just hate the result. Even if any of those scenarios happen, NaNoWriMo still provides an incredible learning experience. At the end of the month, a writer can stand back and ask important questions. What (or, in some cases, who) got in the way of my ability to finish on time? What went wrong with the planning stage? Do I need a more- or less-detailed outline in the future?

To Get Out of the Habit of Self-Censorship

During NaNoWriMo, you simply don’t have time to censor yourself. There’s no time go to back and write the same paragraph 20 times; you have to keep going. Sure, your final product is going to need revisions and several major drafts, but constantly going back to re-write (and expecting your first draft to be perfect) is a hindrance. People often need to write through the need to edit like a runner has to work through a cramp.

To Get It Off Your Chest

NaNoWriMo is not only for rough drafts of young adult novels and high-fantasy fiction. It’s also for memoirs, dramatic narratives, and any novel that you’ve been holding in. People can go for decades intending to write a novel. Life is short — if you have a novel in you, November is the perfect time to get it out. Embrace it and get it off your chest during National Novel Writing Month!

Stephanie Nolan, an editor for Online Writing Jobs, is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. Since college, she's both edited and written film scripts, press releases, fictional stories, and articles. After gaining professional experience with Public Relations, Human Resources, and Recruitment, she discovered OWJ. With her strong marketing background and love of the written word, she now found a great balance while working with online content.

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