Can you believe we only have 24 days until the first of November? How crazy is that! Time flies. With November brings my favorite writing event of the year: National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, where crazies like me attempt at 50,000 words in 30 days.
If you can’t tell from my Twitter feed, and constant name dropping in my blogs, I am a huge advocate of Nano. I have been participating since I was a Junior in High School, and have been hooked ever since. It truly is worth all of the effort.
However, there are a few nitty gritty facts I’d like to share with you. From my experience winning and terribly, terribly losing both Nano and the yearly camps in the Spring, I think you’ll find there are a few things you just weren’t prepared for.
It truly is a lot of work > I know you might think you’re prepared to write almost 2,000 words per day, but if this isn’t already a pretty normal part of your writing routine, you are going to struggle. And I mean really struggle. As a young married woman with a full time job and a plate full of responsibilities, I can tell you that this next month will not be a cake walk. No matter how much planning you’ve done.
The inspiration won’t just “happen” > Some people have it in their heads that they can only get a good amount of writing done during this event. There are others who think that just because Nano will be banging on their door, the words will just come. Neither of these are true. You’re going to have to keep yourself inspired, ignore your inner critic, and walk right past writers block. You simply won’t have time to deal with these everyday road blocks in November.
Get used to saying “no” > Your friends will ask you to a movie. Your husband will request going out for dinner. Your Mom will try to have hour long conversations on the phone. Get used to telling the people in your life that you have to spend November focusing on YOU. A good way to nip this in the butt early is to tell the people you love what you plan on doing next month. That way, it won’t come as a shock to them that you’ve boarded up all the windows and spent 8 hours curled into a ball on your office floor.
You’ll Make sacrifices > I love to cook. Especially creative, healthy, Pinteresty meals. I won’t have time for that next month. I also love to play video games. I like to draw. That’s going to be cut down dramatically. You have to make sacrifices next month to reach your goals. However, the end result is so worth cutting down on other things for 30 days.
Not everyone in your life will support your endeavor > I have friends that think this whole thing is really stupid. Some of my favorite authors have been very vocal about opposing the method. It’s okay. November truly is about focusing on you and your dreams. Ignore what other people say about it until after you’ve typed that 50,000th word. You won’t know if this works for you unless you try, and you have absolutely nothing to lose.
Your novel WILL NOT be ready to publish by the end > Once you’re done writing this beast, you have a whole new journey of editing and beta reading ahead of you. It’s a great journey, so don’t get discouraged. Just focus on the task hand, and let the idea that “this is not the end result” drive you to take chances in your writing. As they say, write with reckless abandon!
Your going to want to quit > The first week will be a breeze. You’ll float right by your word goal. The next week will be a little harder. By the third week you’ll be waving a white flag, asking why in the hell you ever agreed to do this. Nano is not to be taken lightly. It is a huge accomplishment by the end. Do. Not. Quit. If you start to feel like you should stop, hop on Twitter and tell someone. Go to the NaNoWriMo site and read the forums. Everyone feels the same way you do, but you must push on.
Here’s why all of these things are okay: This is your dream, not your family’s. Not your dog’s. Not your neighbor. This is for you. Remember that when facing the 2 AM word sprints, with absolutely no recollection of where you are or where your going. Things are going to get really hard next month. You’re going to question yourself as a writer. You’re going to want to throw in the towel. But all these things I just mentioned are what makes reaching your end goal so damn rewarding. Absolutely nothing worth having comes easy.
What were you surprised by the first time your participated? What in this list came easier for you than others? Catch me on Twitter @NicoleLautore or leave a comment below!
Also, I’d just like to add, if you are feeling discouraged or out of the game next month, I want to open my door to you on Twitter. I am always ready to listen and give feedback to anyone. All you have to do is Tweet to me, or DM me, and I’ll be glad to help. NaNo has given writers the opportunity to make writing a team effort, and I am on your team. So let’s win this thing!