The madness that is NaNoWriMo officially started at midnight.
In the run-up to National Novel Writing Month, the nay-sayers came out in force, trying to convince you why the world doesn’t need your novel. I’m here to tell you that NaNoWriMo is a really good thing, and here’s why:
Get your creative juices flowing
Whether you manage to write 50k in 30 days or not is not the point. The point is that you sat down every day and wrote. As with everything, practise makes perfect. Writing is a great way to unwind and think and sort your thoughts. Being creative in one aspect of your life might inspire creativity in other aspects, and you might even inspire someone else to be more creative as well.
Writing becomes a habit
You always wanted to write but can’t seem to get around to it? Even if you have to force yourself to sit down and write at first, the more often you write, the more natural it will become. It takes about 21 days/repetitions to make something a habit, so by the end of 30 days you should have established a rhythm that will see you writing daily and continue to do so.
The support is awesome
Obviously, you can write whenever you like, but NaNoWriMo gives you the support of a whole community of budding writers. The groups and forums are buzzing and no question is too stupid. Ask away! Whether you’re not sure of a sentence, need name ideas for a creature in a fantasy world or need to know just how long it would take a commuter on the tube from The Tower of London to Oxford Circus during Friday Evening rush hour, chances are someone has the answer for you. There are often lively discussions and you get to meet and exchange ideas with a whole bunch of people from around the world who all have the same goal: get that story written. Quite a few writers might be published already and they can give you handy hints.
You work towards a goal
You’ve got one month. That’s a pretty good deadline. if you like your deadline and meeting them, then it doesn’t get any better than this!
Practice makes perfect
The people who say that you won’t have a novel by the end of NaNoWriMo are right: You won’t have a finished novel. You will, however, have a first draft. At the end of November, you can take this draft, re-write scenes you don’t like, delete parts, add others. You will have your characters and settings already established, you’ll know your world inside out. So no, you won’t have a finished novel in your hands, but you’ll be a lot closer to the getting it published one day than the ones who never started to write in the first place.
Find beta readers
Beta readers are people who will read your story, test it out, and help you make it better. They can read for story flow, plot holes, grammatical and spelling mistakes etc. They are test readers and they will give you honest feedback on what works, what doesn’t, what makes sense and what you could do to improve the story. Your Chapter 1 will probably sound a bit wooden compared to your Chapter 25. That’s because you found your flow and you know where the story is going by chapter 25. If you listen to your betas’ advice, they can help you even out the knots and kinks.
Test of willpower
There will be times during your writing when you’ll think every word you write sucks. At other times, you’ll think that what you’ve just written is the bee’s knees. Writing 50.000 words in just 30 days is a massive achievement. How many people do you know who tried something and gave up at the first sign of it getting uncomfortable, tiresome or silly? Stick with it! It’s not an easy task, but it’s a testament to your willpower to push through and get that first draft written. Some crazy writers (and I use “crazy” in the most loving way imaginable – You rock, guys!!) even attempt 50k in 1 Day (#50kDay on Twitter). That’s a horse of a completely different colour. It takes determination, a strong story idea and (I’m guessing) several pots of coffee. But it is doable. You just have to try.
Being creative is awesome and a good thing!
Don’t let anyone tell you it’s not!