Just in case you all don’t know what this is, NaNoWriMo means National November Writing Month, though November Novel Writing Month would be a better description these days as it is no longer National. NaNoWriMo is a writing challenge in which the goal is to write 50.000 words in a month. It is not a competition, though some make it out to be, it is challenging yourself to dedicated writing.
Now when you crunch the numbers this is 1667 words a day, every day, for thirty days (leaving one day for mishaps), which for starting writers or people who generally have a life is not a small feat.
I took the challenge last year without registering, just to see if I could, and hammered out my 50.000 for the first time on a completely random story about a holiday gone terribly wrong. It was the first time I had dedicated myself to writing and though the story got stuck in the last chapter and as of yet I haven’t finished it, it really gave me a sense of what I wanted with my life. That same year I punched out three books, one of which was a longer running project Foothold of Tethys, my experiences travelling through Scotland, and a book about writing, as I had found my style of writing was very different from others, my experience with official publishing and I had an idea where all this self-publishing would have to lead eventually. That same year I started two Facebook groups for aspiring writers: 60 Seconds of Critique, where people could post story parts to have them looked at by other writers, and AuthorAuthor, where writers could get their name out by publishing cheap collective short-stories following a certain genre or word. When the first book came out I launched Free Books from AuthorAuthor as a distributing point for the free AuthorAuthor Ebooks and started a blog though I detested blogging. I had found my path and wrote just about every other day by then.
But I digress. 🙂 Back to NaNoWriMo.
This year I was not actually planning on joining, but on the first of November I found myself writing and just out of curiosity I checked my word-count of that day: 2157. The next day I found myself writing again, dedicated and focused to create a worthy sequel/prequel to Tethys and Children of the Moon, the book I had just finished days before as a rough draft, having taken half a year to write it. 6639. Where my first NaNo was all about reaching the goal, but now that I am working on part 3 of Foothold of Tethys. If I really push my word-count, I can finish the challenge in about a week where last year I really struggled to reach the count. Some people claim to have already finished, but taking my speed in typing, which is not nothing, they would have to have written at executive secretary speed for 12 hours each day. And there just comes a point where content becomes more important than speed as I solemnly believe I have to deliver the same, or if possible better, quality than the previous two. I’d prefer to kill my word-count and fail the challenge than to drop the quality of the story.
Currently I am on day three, 1123 today and it is not even midday yet, and about a week ahead in word-count. I don’t know why, but the focus to write is driving me on, taking regular breaks to post or reply on Facebook and Blog about what ever is distracting me from writing.
Though there are a lot of negative comments on NaNoWriMo, generally stating that inexperienced people have no business writing, but I think everyone who has a longing to put pen to paper should write. Writing is a great way to clear your mind from the stories that are haunting it and at the same time is an active and creative escape from daily life.
One thing I do agree on with the critics: edit your story, rewrite it, re work it, then have someone else read it, edit it, after which you edit it again. Do not self-edit to publishing because it is cheaper, because you are unable to catch your own mistakes and you will be laughed out of the room.
The depression I suffered from before is gone. The focus and passion have taken over. And all thanks to NaNoWriMo.