You may be wondering what NaNoWriMo is and why you need to do it. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, it’s an event that takes place every November, when you write a 50,000 word novel in a month.
If you’ve ever wanted to write a book, but didn’t because you needed to do a ton of research, or you wanted to learn how to write from the millions of books that are about writing books, then NaNoWriMo (NaNo for short) is for you. It’s meant to get you writing and keep you writing, at least for a month.
So why do you need to do it? You don’t. But you should.
Doing NaNo will help you improve five major skills:
I should know, I’ve successfully done it 4 times, twice for NaNoWriMo and twice for Camp NaNoWriMo. I was checking in with a local writing group, instead of signing up on the website, but you don’t need a website to feel the effects. You just need to do it.
Improve Your Writing
This one is easy to understand. Writing 50,000 words over the course of 30 days will improve your writing skills, whether you want it to or not. Even if you’re not a journalist, blogger, speech writer, ghost writer, or in any other profession that requires excellent writing skills, having those writing skills can help you in many ways.
In a professional setting, good writing skills can lead to being hired, receiving faster promotions, and communicating effectively with business associates and colleagues over email.
In your personal life, good writing skills will allow you to get along with friends and family over letters and emails, as well as over social media. With global communication becoming more and more present with the use of social media, being able to articulate your thoughts is necessary to connect with others.
Sharpen Your Creativity
It takes a certain level of creativity to be able to take an idea for a story and flesh it out, developing characters, adding subplots, creating setting. Even if you aren’t very creative, it’s still possible to do this, as fleshing out a story idea will help you become more imaginative.
I find that I have a tendency to forget about NaNoWriMo until the week before, so if you’re like me, you’ll be scrambling for an idea that you can write a novel about, and the wildest plot points will catch your interest. It’s amazing what the mind can do under pressure.
During the writing process you’ll have days that you just don’t know what to write. But you still have to meet your word count, so you’ll have to write whatever comes into your head. Some of the ideas that will pop into your head will surprise you, I’m sure.
Improve Your Speed
There’ll be days where your head is overflowing with ideas and you’ll want to get them out there as soon as possible, before you forget them or lose motivation. On those days your fingers will fly across the keyboard, or your hands will glide across the page, as your ideas spill forth like waves washing over pebbles on a beach.
There’ll also be days where you’d like to do anything other than write. On those days a little voice in your head will let you know that you should still write, or else you won’t reach your word goal. You’ll want to be done with it as soon as possible. So you’ll start typing or writing more quickly, not caring if it’s any good, or if it’s even legible. Anything to get that word count.
Sharpen Your Discipline
Writing when you don’t want to will not only improve your writing speed, it’ll also sharpen your discipline. Sticking to a schedule for 30 days is incredibly difficult, but incredibly rewarding should you do it successfully.
Being disciplined is not only internally validating, but externally as well. Good disciplinary skills are a valuable asset to have as an employee, and it will help you in your personal life as well, be it avoiding your next impulse buy or improving your physical fitness level.
If you don’t think that you could write 1,667 words every single day for an entire month, how about aiming for 2,000 words every day. That may seem a bit crazy, but it allows for 5 days without any writing, in case of illness, a family emergency, or if you just need a break. Don’t believe me? Just calculate it yourself.
Doing a bit of extra work so you have some wriggle room in case something bad happens shows good work ethic. It proves that you are proactive, responsible, disciplined, and that you can be self-directed.
Improve Your Confidence
If you do manage to win NaNoWriMo, it will improve your confidence. Why shouldn’t it? It took a lot of hard work, but you made it to the end. You deserve a round of applause, a pat on the back, and some hot tea.
Writing a novel is difficult, and anyone who’s attempted it can agree. But even just attempting it shows tremendous ambition. So go for it.
What if you don’t do NaNoWriMo this year, but do it next year, or the year after that? What’s the harm in waiting? If you do decide to wait before attempting NaNoWriMo, and you try it a few years down the line, and you love it, there will be a little voice in the back of your head.
That little voice will say, “I wish I had done this X amount of years ago.”
So would you like to put it off for a while, and find that you love it and wish that you had started sooner? Or would you rather take a leap of faith and try it out now, only to realize it isn’t for you just a couple of weeks in?
If you don’t like it, it’ll only be a couple of weeks to a month wasted. If you do like it, but you put it off, it could be years. I used to hate creative writing, until I tried Camp NaNoWriMo one year. I wish I had learned about it sooner. But I’m happy that as soon as I found out about it, I tried it.
It’s amazing, what can happen in just one month.