10 Good Reasons To Do NaNoWriMo – TUESDAY WRITING TIP

That's me on the first camel. Camel riding is such a blast:) Amazing animals.

I confess that I’m a NaNoWriMo convert. I know that NaNoWriMo has been going for a while now and I used to wonder what all the fuss was about.

This year I took the plunge and decided to participate for the first time, and I haven’t regretted a minute of it. So I thought I’d share with you the TEN THINGS that NaNoWriMo has done for me.

Deadlines motivate – Last week I (blog url) mentioned about how easy it is to get distracted from your writing. NaNoWriMo has helped me to make my writing a priority again. It gave me a deadline to meet. It is a definite thing – not like the usual “I’m writing this book hoping that it will be published some years in the future.” When you don’t have a definite deadline to write to (ie your book has been scheduled for publication 12 months from now…I wish LOL) it can be good to have your own definite deadline to work to.

Forces you to make time for your writing – The group I am in, NaNoWriMo Warriors holds Word Wars at the same time every day. This is where you write for an hour and there are writers all around the world doing the same thing and at the end of the allotted time, you compare your word counts. It’s really fun and it doesn’t matter who wins – the idea is just to get you writing. And it gets you into a routine of writing at the same time every day – of setting aside time to write in your busy schedule.

Gets you to commit to a great idea that may have been lurking inside your head for a long time. I’ve had an idea for my story for about six years. I had a couple of false starts, but nothing I was happy with. NaNoWriMo made me commit to developing this idea further – and even though my first draft is pretty rough, it’s all there – out of my head and on paper.

Reminds you of who your competition really is. Sometimes it feels as if every second person you meet, even the celebrities (who I don’t actually get to meet) is writing a book and you are competing against all of them to get your book out there. It’s easy to become despondent. NaNoWriMo reminds you that the only person you are competing against is yourself – that your story is unique and that nobody else can tell it like you can.

Helps banish your internal editor. Most people have probably done free writing at some stage – you know where you get to write for 10 or 15 minutes and you have to keep writing without stopping and you come up with some really random thoughts – but some of them are amazing. That’s what NaNoWriMo did for me. It freed my thinking – gave me permission to just keep writing and worry about the rest later.

Puts routine into your writing. I found with NaNoWriMo it was best to try and stick with a regular goal. If you write 1700 words a day, you will have 51,000 words by the end of a month – pretty amazing, hey? Now if you are preening and polishing every word as you go, it’s going to be pretty hard to get the word counts you need. But if you don’t edit along the way, 50,000 words is more easily achievable than you might think and you’ll be amazed at how much your story moves forward if you don’t keep going back to change it.

As I’m writing, things pop into my head all the time about how the story needs fixing or developing in the next draft, but I just make notes in the margin and go back to it at the end.

Brings you out of your lonely garret. You get to network with other writers through forums and chats on the NaNoWriMo site and by joining other groups like the Facebook group, NaNoWriMo Warriors.

A worldwide experience. You get to connect with people from all over the world and find out about international publishing trends. It’s really cool to be waking up and starting your work just as someone in some other part of the world is going to bed. It’s like having the writing baton passed to you.

You have support. When you’re home alone looking at the blank screen of your computer, and the words won’t come, it’s easy to just walk away and say, “I’ll try again tomorrow.”

But if you join a worldwide NaNoWriMo group you’ll find someone online almost 24/7 with words of encouragement and brainstorming ideas to help you get over the rough patches. I worked for years as an advertising copywriter for an agency and I have to say there’s nothing like having another creative mind to bounce ideas off to spark your own inspiration.

Acknowledges that your writing is important. Whether you get to 50,000 words or not, just being involved in NaNoWriMo is a great achievement.

Just participating in Nano has forced you to make a commitment to your writing. And that has to be a good thing, doesn’t it?

Next week on Tuesday Writing Tips, I’ll be giving my 10 best tips to carry on after NaNoWriMo – to use the skills, inspiration and contacts you’ve acquired to keep the words flowing in the future.

I’d really love to hear about your NaNoWriMo experience in the comments section of this post, and how it has helped you with your writing.

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22 thoughts on “10 Good Reasons To Do NaNoWriMo – TUESDAY WRITING TIP

  1. Dee,

    You’ve described my experience with NaNoWriMo to a tee. This year is my first. I think you and I met the 50K challenge on the same day, thirteen days ahead of schedule! I still can’t believe I wrote 50,000 in seventeen days.

    While it’s unlikely that I’ll use any of the text I wrote, I learned so much about my story, some of its characters *and* that I likely won’t be using any of this text. Because this text was for me. For me to hear the story and feel it out. I have a feeling I may have several more rounds of text like this to go, before I have a draft I can share with beta readers.

    I also discovered how hard it is to write a novel, one worth reading. It was humbling. It made me appreciate, even more, writers I already admire and who inspire me.

    And I would never have discovered the right ending to my story, my character’s ending (as opposed to mine) if I hadn’t given myself permission to free associate and tell myself he story before becoming concerned with the formalities of plot structure, voice, grammar, etc.

  2. So true, Dee.
    I would never had thought I would write almost 20,000 words in three weeks! I’m not aiming for 50k, but I am reaching my goal of finishing the first draft of my junior novel.
    HOLD ON! I have finished the first draft of the first in my series! And now in the final week of NaNo, I’ve finished the first draft of the second book – I’ll use the last few days to add some of the ideas I thought of along the way.
    Like Dee’s experience, the encouragement and the comraderie of our fellow NaNo Warriors from around the globe has helped me stick to my plan, to learn not to procrastinate, to stick to a deadline.
    But most significant of all – for me it is to write a first draft without fiddling, or editing, or chewing over a single word or sentence along the way.
    Our little Word Wars force us to write as fast as we can, and it’s amazing what the brain will do when you let it go ‘like a bat out of hell!’

  3. Hi Shelley,

    I think you actually beat me seeing as I’m in Australia and we’re a day ahead lol.

    I had a plot idea I liked to start with so I think my NaNo novel might become something, but it also has a long way to go.

    I think the ‘free writing’ was one of the best things I got out of the whole experience as well – permission just to write and let my characters take me in their own direction rather than trying to ‘control’ them.

    Thanks for visiting my blog and good luck with your next draft.

    Dee:)

  4. with you 100% Dee. That pretty much describes mt experience. I haven’t been doing any word wars and I have so far attended two events, BUT I am at 38,000 words and I will reach my goals. I love my last years Nano Novel. this year, it seems more of a slog, but if you keep writing the the gunk, the gold will come. Every once in a while I get a piece of nirvana writing.

  5. Congratulations, Susan,

    I know what you mean. Sometimes the words pour out and other times they just want to stay stuck inside your head and not venture out. Isn’t nirvana writing a wonderful experience?:) Sounds like you are well on target this year, even though it has been hard work.

    Dee

  6. Hi Dee,
    This is my first year of Na No. I surprised myself with writing 10k in two weeks. Now working on my 2nd draft of a Kids SF novel. Its a great motivational device. Love your 10 reasons too…Karen :)).

  7. Ten positively brilliant and positive reasons to NaNo. Two resonate for me overwhelmingly. Committment and support. With both of those we writers are unstoppable. Congratulations on your stunning NaNo effort, Dee. You are unstoppable.

  8. Thanks Chris,

    Hope you get lots of words written at Varuna. It’s amazing what we can do with the right opportunities, isn’t it? Look forward to hearing all about your time away.

    Dee:)

  9. I really enjoyed your post Dee! I’m not doing Nano, but I can relate to your comments about write now and edit later. It’s easy for me to go back and edit and redraft my chapters, it’s getting the whole book done that I find challenging. It’s a hard habit to break, I wonder if it’s a habit formed from doing assignments at school. I think Nano would be great for me so that I’m forced to write free flowing and to a deadline.

  10. Dee, I whole-heartedly agree with your ten reasons and although life has gotten in the way of me writing 50,000 words this month, I’ve still found enjoyment in what little I have written. I’ve also loved watching and hearing about everyone else’s journey – and of course, have enjoyed wearing my NaNo t-shirt đŸ™‚

    Maybe next year life will be a little less chaotic, but I have no doubt November will always mean NaNoWriMo for me!

  11. Thanks Renee,

    NaNo is good for banishing the internal editor…but you can always bring them back later:) Writing regularly and to a deadline is great for developing good writing habits.

    Dee:)

  12. This is my second year writing for NaNoWriMo. I succeeded at reaching 50,000+ words last year, and I’m determined to do it again! It’s been enjoyable and productive each time so far!

  13. Hi Becky,

    Thanks for visiting. Congratulations on last year’s NaNoWriMo success. Sounds like you are having a great year again this year. Good luck with it and feel free to share your tips.

    Dee:)

  14. Good post, Dee. I’ve just hit 38900 I think it was but considering I’ve also been proofreading final galleys(I hope) for my novel Streets on a Map due to go to printers this week, I didn’t think that was too bad.

  15. Thanks for dropping in, Dale and congratulations on your word count and your new novel Streets on a Map.

    It sounds like a fascinating book and I can’t wait to read it. Hope you make it to your NaNo goal – whatever that is:)

    Dee

  16. Well, it just formalises the old writer’s adage:
    If you really want to write you have to glue your bum to a seat!

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