I’m NaNo-ing, and you should too!
In case you missed it, yesterday I announced that I will be participating in the 2017 NaNoWriMo writing challenge, which starts on Wednesday, November 1. In that post, I also mentioned that I was going to post a Writing Tips NaNoWriMo Countdown, so welcome to it:
Part One: 4 Reasons Why You Should Participate In NaNoWriMo.
And the rest of the series:
Part Six: Get Writing Prompts By TFR Volume 1 For Only 99 Cents!
In this post, I will discuss some of the many reasons (because there are many, and these are just mine) why I think it’s important for writers of all skill levels to participate in NaNoWriMo.
In my announcement post, I mentioned how I need something that will hold me accountable and get me off my backside and back to writing, because I personally haven’t done it consistently in the last year, and I really want to get back to that. NaNoWriMo is fantastic for that.
Not only do they send email reminders throughout the month with tips and tricks and reminders to report your daily word metrics, but I’m the type of person who strives for any goal that I set, so I know that I, and others who follow me as I write, will combine to remind me of the importance of the goals I set.
I also mentioned in my announcement post (and a couple sentences ago, it’s that important) how I need to get back into writing on a daily basis, because I think consistency is key for writerly success. Now, I know that it’s not entirely feasible to write every.single.day. 365 days a year—sometimes you need a break, but that’s why it’s great to do something like NaNoWriMo.
In NaNoWriMo, writers haul ass for 30 days to write 50,000 words. That is absolutely insane, you guys. That’s about 1,667 words a day, and yeah, sometimes you can write that much or more in a writing session. But that doesn’t mean you HAVE to write 1,667 words a day for 365 days. That WILL burn you out. You must find your balance, and with NaNoWriMo, you can discover what your balance is. It could be more, it could be less, it could be WAY less. Whatever works for you.
Did you know that if you wrote 500 words a day for 365 days, you can write 182,500 words? That’s a lot. That’s like, three and a half NaNoWriMo’s. Three first drafts of a novel. Two drafts of a 91,000-ish word novel. That’s a lot of words to write consistently, and writing doesn’t always work like that. But you can still, as I said, find a routine that works for you. And NaNoWriMo can help.
Since NaNoWriMo is so massive, with participants competing from all around the world, so in order to narrow it down and find writers nearby—especially for those of you who do well with writing with other people—there’s a Regions option (you can find it up in the main menu page), where you can connect with writers who live in your city. Not only can you interact with Municipal Liaisons, but you can also follow your Region on Twitter or Facebook, see blog posts and helpful links, and so much more.
Not only that, but NaNoWriMo has a massive forum. And while massive may sound intimidating, the categories are broken down so well that it’s difficult to be overwhelmed. There are prep threads over in NaNo Prep, the Reference Desk for research help, and even Writing 101. Not only that, but you can find forums of people in your age group, Word Wars, Prompts, & Sprints (which includes a couple threads with some picks from my Prompt Library), you can connect with others on Social Media, and it even narrows down to lounges categorized by genre. Need help finding an editor or are looking to purchase something a fellow NaNo-er is selling, then there’s even a Marketing, Self-promotion, & Stuff For Sale thread.
Live in San Francisco or can travel there? Don’t forget to check out The Night Of Writing Dangerously Write-a-thon on November 19. It’s six hours of writing and dinner and drinks in a ballroom overlooking downtown San Francisco. How cool is that? You can attend by raising $300 dollars for the nonprofit behind NaNoWriMo, more details on it here.
Participating in NaNoWriMo means getting access to a lot of cool bonuses. Not only do you have access to the stunningly massive forum that I talked about in the above section on the community, but they have recommendations from NaNoWriMo experts, blog posts from guests like published authors who either got their start in NaNoWriMo or have written some of their more recent works during a NaNoWriMo challenge.
It also has a store, where you can buy exclusive merchandise that’s based on each NaNo’s theme, and they have a MASS of awesome sponsors who offer awesome discounts and freebies to those who win NaNo and validate their word counts. One of the highlights I remember from the 2015 NaNoWriMo, where I successfully completed my first draft of the #WhoIsTalyaNightingale novel, was a company that offered a free, printed copy of your NaNoWriMo manuscript. Free. Book printing is expensive, y’all.
NaNoWriMo also offers a Young Writers Program, and Camp NaNo, which is basically NaNoWriMo in the summer, and while it’s also about writing, it’s a lot more collaborative, with participants matched into groups or ‘cabins’, with other authors of your same age, genre, or any other specification you choose.