Is NaNoWriMo right for you? #AuthorToolboxBlogHop
When it comes to NaNoWriMo, I’ve heard a lot of mixed opinions over the past few months, and quite frankly, they were all solid reasons. This web-based event isn’t for everyone, and if it is for you this year, it doesn’t mean it will be next year and vice versa.
Whether you participate in NaNoWriMo or not, there is certainly value in doing so. But in the end, it’s all about who you are, what’s in you, and whether it’s the right time or not. Let me explain this.
How do you know if NaNoWrimo is right for you?
Why you should do it
– Community-based event
NaNoWriMo is a wonderful event that will gather writers from all over the world. Their energy and love for words will fuel your appetite and keep you going. Plus, the forum and your writing buddies will show up in moments of doubts (or at least they should), which can make a real difference.
Some writers (more than others) will have this gaming factor for them. Seeing your writing buddies’ word counts increase day after day will give you the extra push to reach your daily goal.
- Share ideas
If you’re unsure about an idea, you may ask for opinions. You’d be surprised by how many ideas will flow your way. In the end, it’s your choice to take it or not, but you’ll feel better if you have doubts about something and a friend encourages you to move forward with it or flat out stop the damage. Trust your gut instinct, though.
- Discuss with like-minded people
Writing can be a solitary activity, and having someone, who goes through the same process as you, is therapeutic.
****I want to add a word of caution here. Don’t forget that NaNoWriMo is about writing, not just talking about writing. The forum and community is a bonus, but you still need to write down your story.****
– Learn discipline
Writing is undeniably hard work. It does take a mountain to publish a book the right way and discipline is key to succeed. The event will help you stay on track and write every day, which can only be beneficial in the end.
– Right timing and a story screaming to get on paper
This is where many will check out (more on this later), but it has to be a good time for you, you need to have a story that boils inside you, begging to get out, and to have a good idea of where you’re going with that story or I doubt you’ll get 50,000 words out. An idea of a story isn’t a story. Make sure it matured enough to have a beginning, an end, and everything in between.
– Improve your writing skills
This is a wonderful way to work on your writing. The best way to improve your writing is by writing. There is no way around this. A professional football player or pianist did not get where they are without practicing. It’s a fact. Write and read.
– Create a routine
A routine is important to keep you moving forward. Practicing requires discipline AND consistency. NaNoWriMo helps you get into the habit of writing on a daily basis.
– Deadline is your friend
Ok, some people hate it; some thrive on it. Deadlines are something that you need to get used to, especially if you decide to write full-time. It keeps you going and if you end up working with an agent and publisher, they’ll be part of your life. Learn to love them.
Why you shouldn’t do it
– Already working on edits for a book
If you are in the midst of finishing up a book and tight deadlines, don’t even think about it. This isn’t for you. Not the right timing in any way. Keep your focus on finishing this book you’re working on.
– The process doesn’t work for you
Some writers call themselves “turtle writers” and the pressure of having to write 50,000 words in a month can be disruptive. That’s ok. Personally, I’d rather read a story by someone who took time to get the best story ever on paper than someone who rushed to write nonsense and bores me to death. Know who you are and get your story out for yourself first. They are many reasons why, this process won’t work for you. This is ok. Know what’s best for you. Also, writing should be fun.
– Your story isn’t quite ready
You have a story in you, but you’re not quite ready to get it out. You still have things you need to think about. That’s ok too. Work on it. It’s your story, and only you will know when it’s ready. Write when the time is right for YOU. Honestly, that’s all that matters.
– November? Really?
First, why November? Really, I mean this is one of the worst months to do this with the Thanksgiving’s long weekend and its preparation, raking leaves (ok, I don’t have to do this, but thinking of you all out there who has to) and then, Christmas preparation. This month won’t work for many of us. Keep this in mind if you still decide to go for it.
– Why 50,000 words?
To win NaNoWriMo, you need to write 50,000 words throughout the month, which is an average of 1,666 words a day. I like the discipline behind the challenge, but quite frankly, this is barely a book for me. This is actually half of what’s standard in Fantasy. 50,000 words is hardly a win for me. It’s a good start at best, and maybe this is how we all should see it: a start. Because even if you’re writing contemporary or something in those lines, the minimum required to write a book is 60,000 words, not 50,000. I guess if you can elaborate on your story/edit after reaching the 50,000 words, you may end up with 60,000 words.
What you should keep in mind:
- When you’re done, you do NOT have a book, but some kind of draft.
- Know yourself, plan if you need to, but do not favor quantity over quality. There is no point in rewriting everything, except for wasting your own time. It’s better to write 30,000 words towards a great book than 50,000 words that do not make any sense. Writing something that you can and will use/like is your win.
- Once you start, do not stop and do not edit. Get your story out on paper and YES, it will be a shitty draft, but that’s completely fine because you will edit it.
- Don’t show your work from NaNoWriMo to agents before editing it (unless you have a special request from an agent)
- Do not self-publish it without editing first. Let’s give self-publishing the reputation it deserves and don’t dump your work there unless it’s worth it. AND NO, a first or second draft is hardly worth it. I can assure you that you can do better.
Remember, you write because of your love for words. You love writing and write for yourself first. Don’t make this experience something unpleasant. There is absolutely no point in it. I will participate this year because I’m waiting for my beta readers to read my book, so I have some time and already know what I want to write in book 2. My world building is complete at 90% and the outline at 50%.
Do what’s best for you, and you know what that is.
Any other reason you can think of?
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