NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, is quickly approaching. It’s this delightful(ly frustrating) challenge in November when writers all around the world pledge to write an entire novel (well, almost; the typical goal is 50,000 words) in thirty days. There are a lot of reasons to not participate in the challenge, especially if you think you have the writing thing “all figured out” by now. But there are even more reasons to bite the bullet and, you know, step outside your comfort zone. NaNoWriMo may be just the thing your writing needs.
Here are five very important reasons why every writer should participate in NaNo, no matter where you are in your writing career:
NaNoWriMo requires you to actually schedule writing time.
Writing a full draft of a novel is already difficult—writing the entire thing in one month is outright bonkers. “Winning” NaNo requires scheduled writing time. You need to hit your daily word count goals to stay on track. That means you need to write when you don’t feel inspired, when your kids have kept you up half the night, or when you’d rather start a Netflix marathon. Scheduling writing time is excellent practice, and NaNo is the perfect time to figure out exactly when during the course of your day you can focus best on your book.
NaNoWriMo brings out the ambitious side in every writer.
There’s nothing like a little competition to raise the stakes. Writing is often an isolated activity, so NaNo makes everyone ambitious to keep up with everyone else. You’ll start to feel the pressure of reaching your word count goal when you read posts about other writers’ successes (and failures). Knowing other people can reach their writing goals makes you feel like you can, or should, too. Once you get over the lull of “how the hell am I ever going to do this?!!?” you will start to actually enjoy the challenge.
NaNoWriMo will make you answer difficult questions.
Am I really meant to be a writer? How can I make this chapter work? Where are all my snacks? Did I really drink that much caffeine in 24 hours? You’ll start questioning everything, and the questions will only get tougher as the month goes on. Sometimes being under pressure helps you realize very important things about your writing life.
NaNoWriMo allows you to be part of a writing community.
Not only do you get to compete in the ultimate writing game with other writers, but you can rely on one another for support. The online community surrounding NaNoWriMo is a great way to meet other writers who will help you out throughout the month, but also well beyond. Many participants meet future beta readers and critique partners during the challenge. There are writers from all around the globe doing the exact same thing as you are every day. You can join one another for writing sprints and rant sessions. There are even in-person meet-ups throughout the month, in case interacting face-to-face is more your jam.
NaNoWriMo forces you to write the first draft (and worry about edits later).
This is probably the most important reason why all writers should give NaNoWriMo a try. When you need to write so many words in thirty days, it’s impossible to revise as you write. And this is a good thing. You’ll be forced to just get the story out. The months after November are meant for revising—and adding more material where necessary. Think of NaNo as a reason to get a first draft done… no matter how bad it might be.
Convinced? Sign up for NaNoWriMo now and write something great in November.