Let’s talk about NaNoWriMo – or National Novel Writing Month as it’s called – the annual project everyone goes crazy about in November as they try to write a 50,000 word novel in a month.
This will be my fourth year “competing”, but my first since I started doing it where I’m not actually prepared at all. Since 2018 I’ve always had a project I’ve been planning and was excited about doing. I’ve been counting days, prepping my manuscript, and getting ready for a challenge. This year, however, I just threw myself around and did something.
Thing is, before I joined the NaNo club 2018, I really never saw the point. I’m sure there are loads of people like me, people who are sitting back working on their regular writing, watching a bunch of people on Twitter or other social media go crazy for…well, for November I guess. Why not just write what you were always going to write in November, and call it a day, right?
What is it about sitting down to write specifically in November that makes it different?
I don’t even do it properly. I don’t have an account on the NaNoWriMo website and I don’t track my word count for anyone except for myself. Also, I haven’t actually ever “won” NaNoWriMo – but don’t tell anyone, that stays between us.
Every year I’ve participated I’ve written novellas that have come in under 50k words by the time the first draft was finished, and this year (even though I’m aiming for higher) I’m pretty certain I’ll never meet 50,000 words before December.
Still, there’s something about sitting down with a specific project, for a specific amount of time that just… works.
This year, I haven’t drafted anything new since February, beyond a handful of short stories here and there. Most of what I’ve been working on have been editing a future crime novel and a horror novella (which happens to be my 2018 NaNo project, actually!)
The thing I’m working on now has been in the back of my mind for a while, and I’ve really been wanting to get it started, but I guess I’ve been putting it off because I’ve been focused on other things. It never seemed the right time to start something so huge, you know what I mean?
For this year’s NaNo I’m writing my first Young Adult novel – and not just that, I’m also attempting to write something in Norwegian for the first time ever.
And that’s where the beauty of NaNoWriMo comes in. Not because it means anything, really, or because it’s different than just doing your regular writing in November. But because it’s a thing. It’s a time, and a place, and a setting to work on your project, and you know others do it too. I have friends who I excitedly talk to about my NaNoWriMo project, we chat about getting ready for it, about being hopeful (or not) about getting it done before December comes around, and it’s a different way of keeping each other accountable.
That’s a great source of motivation and inspiration for me.
It’s a time, and a place, and a setting to work on your project, and you know others do it too.
So yeah, it’s not any different than if you just write the book you were already working on. Not necessarily. But if you give it a chance, maybe it will “feel” different. Maybe it’ll change the way you see your writing.
As always, I’d love you hear your thought and comments and don’t forget to check out my books!