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Is National Novel Writing Month right for you?
National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) could be a springboard toward achieving your writing goals - OR it could be a distraction.
Whether you’re new to the writing world or you’ve published a few books, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) could be a springboard toward achieving your writing goals - OR it could be a distraction.
First, what is NaNoWriMo?
NaNoWriMo takes place the entire month of November. It’s a time of year when novelists from around the world make the conscious effort to focus on their WIP (work-in-progress). There’s an entire website dedicated to this movement, which helps writers track their progress, set milestones, connect with other writers in the community, and participate in events that are designed to make sure you finish your novel. Best of all, it’s free!
“Each year on November 1, hundreds of thousands of people around the world begin to write, determined to end the month with a first draft. They enter the month as elementary school teachers, mechanics, or stay-at-home parents. They leave novelists.” - NaNoWriMo Website
How do you know if NaNoWriMo is right for you?
I’ve done it in the past and loved it. But I wasn’t a full-time author back then with a business to run, nor do I have children to consider. Also, my goals back then were likely different than yours will be. All of that to say, participating in NaNoWriMo is a question of goals and realistic time constraints.
NaNoWriMo sounds like an epic adventure in writing (and it is!), but if you’re not realistic when thinking about your goals and how you’re going to reach them amidst work, family, and your other adulting responsibilities, it’s easy to get frustrated and can be a struggle to reach your goal.
We don’t want to self-sabotage, so remember...
It’s not all black and white - you can pivot if you have to.
If you want to use November to buckle down and write your butt off as much as possible, do it! Your goal doesn’t have to be an entire first draft of a novel, especially if that’s not realistic. Maybe you want to get a detailed outline completed by the end of the month instead. Or 30,000 words of a first draft written. Maybe a rough draft of your entire novel is the stretch goal.
If you want to test out NaNoWriMo this November, I say do it! But be realistic about your goals and set yourself up for success by making a plan to reach those goals.
How can you prepare for NaNoWriMo?
Ask yourself the following questions:
What do you need to move around in your schedule to make more writing time?
How much time (realistically) do you have to write each week?
What would you have to accomplish each week in order to meet your goal at the end of the month?
If you have a partner, are they willing to take on a few extra chores or tasks for the month so you can focus on writing?
Are you taking into consideration any November travel or increased family obligations as we move into the holiday season (especially if you observe Thanksgiving)?
These are important questions to ask before overcommitting yourself to NaNoWriMo, especially when you’re participating for the first time.
The best way to sabotage your creativity and momentum is to ignore the easily anticipated distractions that could derail you in November. Because I promise you, there will be plenty of unforeseen distractions you’ll already be up against. You might as well be as ready for them as you can.
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