Monday, November 4, 2013

NaNoWriMo Lessons for Non-NaNoWriMoers

So, I know there are a lot of people doing NaNoWriMo. Lots. But there are also a lot who are not doing it, myself included. Everyone makes their own decisions about doing or not doing it, obviously, personally I just don't feel like I can keep up the pace and want to work on increasing my pace yearlong. However there are very good reasons to participate in NaNoWriMo, and a lot of lessons to take from it, whether you participate or not.

1. Just write. This is the main point of NaNoWriMo, obviously. A person cannot be a writer if they don't write. We have so many editorial voices going on in our heads, so many things taking our time in our day-to-day-lives. In other words, the excuses are ad infinitum. NaNo really makes a point of just getting it done. Just buckle down, sit down, and crank out the words no matter if half of them amount to nothing but horse poop. The cleaning and editing can come later. But you can't edit a blank page.

2. Community is valuable. One of the coolest things about NaNo in my opinion is the sense of community. The participants gather together, psych each other up, inspire each other and assist each other. The NaNo blog has respected and intelligent writers who guest post fantastic and wonderful advice that can be applied way beyond the month of November. I think this sense of community is valuable, and something every writer should participate in and be grateful for all year long. This is one reason I love blogs and Facebook and Twitter and YouTube and Pinterest. They are some of the best places to meet like-minded folk and be inspired.

3. Goals are helpful. Even for those of us not writing the 1,600 or so words per day as part of NaNoWriMo, the concept of setting a daily word count is a very old but very wise and practical piece of advice. That's one of the first things we hear as writers, is to get down a certain number of words a day, but its good to be reminded. And it's this kind of simple goal-making that accomplishes big things.

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? 

Sarah Allen


  1. Not this year but I have in the past. For me, it's all about motivation. As you stated, can't edit a blank page.

  2. The timing ended up working out for me this year, ending one project (mostly--I had to actually finish it this weekend at the expense of some Nano time) and now I can start another.

    I wrote a draft in about 7 weeks this summer largely due to a blogger community who set weekly writing goals (Ready. Set. Write!) It was truly motivating to set a goal and know I needed to check in the next week. I never used to write every day, and now I do most days. That's pretty much why I'm doing Nano again since I know I can keep up the habit of working regularly on reaching those goals.

  3. It's something I've never tried - I have a tendency to freeze up and I'm currently frozen on my manuscript and have a lot of unfinished short stories. Teaching takes it out of me, so trying to set a goal would freeze me up even more. I need quiet time with no classes to prepare. But I take your point. That's how I always work - just write it and worry about how good it is later. You're right about the inner editorial voices - I'm a member of the Andromeda Spaceways team which produces a magazine, and every time we have an online meeting, it takes ages, because we keep stopping to correct our spelling and grammar. ;-)

    I have visited the NaNo site and the point made is that this is for FUN and shouldn't be stressed over, but people do. I read so many blogs of NaNo writers who are agonising over their manuscript and whether they can finish their wordage in time and how good it is or isn't, wailing that they didn't get their wordage done yesterday. Oh, dear, dear! (g)

  4. You give 3 very excellent reasons for trying NaNo.

    Myself, I've never tried it. November is not a good month for teachers to try to write a novel!

  5. My point exactly, Danne! Finishing the kids' work for the year, reports to be written...Not a good month at all! January would work for me. But NaJanWriMo just doesn't have the same ring to it, does it? ;-)

  6. Oh yes, I do NaNoWriMo. You missed one "why" that I do and that is to push, write, and not look back until its done. Hard to do because there is always something that needs fixing.

    I've also tried to dig deeper and expand the emotion I'm putting into my scenes. Knowing I'm only going to get one chance until December has give me fuel to write prose i didn't know I could. :-)


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