Summer is officially over. Leaves are turning brown, the ice warning on my car went off this morning, and people are quoting Game of Thrones more than usual. But it’s not just winter that’s coming; in less than a month NaNoWriMo will be upon us.
For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, is where thousands of people all over the world commit to writing 50,000 words over the course of 30 days in November. Last year 310,000 brave/foolish people signed up for the challenge. Maybe you were one of them. Maybe you’re thinking of giving it a shot this year. Or maybe you think that sounds like the craziest, stupidest thing you’ve ever heard of. Well, this will be my fourth year taking part, and I wouldn’t miss it for the world, and I think you should give it a shot too. Here’s why.
Tell Your Story
They say that everyone has a story in them. Whenever you tell someone you’re writing a book they all seem to know they have a story idea, but have just never had the time. How about you? Do you read a book, maybe see a film, and think that you too have something you want to share? Stories are there to be told. Well guess what? Now is your time. No more excuses, this November is your chance to go from the person who ‘once had an idea for a story’ to the person who actually wrote a novel.
The Power of Commitment
Writing a novel is an aspiration for many people, but few find the time to commit to actually doing it. Signing up for NaNoWriMo is a public way of saying that you are going to do something special this November, not some undefined time in the future. For bonus points, tell your friends, family, work colleagues and pets. Not only will you get more support, you’ll feel public accountability and will be all the more likely to finish off November with 50,000 words under your belt.
The Strength of Habit
I’ve written before about the benefits of positive habits here, and it still holds true; the best way to make big changes is to start small habits. And with the task of writing a novel in 30 days, the best way to do it is a little every day. While you won’t necessarily maintain the 1,667 words per day after November is over, you will certainly have a solid basis for a daily writing habit, or any other creative endeavor for that matter.
A Massive Support Network
If you ever thought of undertaking a project like this, I guarantee you’ll never have as much support as you’ll find at Nanowrimo. The forums are a hive of activity, full of much more help and advice than you could ever expect to read. Along with the general forums, genre specific forums and troubleshooting forums, there are also region specific forums. Here you’ll find help and support on your very own door step. I live in the middle of nowhere, and there were writing groups within a few miles of my home. So whether you prefer online or real life support, Nanowrimo is the best time for it.
Do Something Impossible
This world is full of people who will tell you that you can’t do it. It doesn’t matter what it is. If it’s something impossible, then it’s better to not even try. For many people, writing a novel is one of those someday/maybe things, something that can only be done by the blessed few, after decades of toil and harsh living. The idea of someone writing one in a month? Preposterous. Impossible.
Life is full of impossible things. Running a mile in under 4 minutes was once impossible. Flight was once impossible. Breaking the sound barrier was once impossible. Yet, because a few people refused to see these things as impossible, they were able to achieve amazing things. Maybe you think 50,000 words in 30 days is impossible. But if you make it, what used to be impossible becomes possible. Not just for writing, but for everything in life. And that’s a very powerful realisation that shouldn’t be taken lightly. And even if you don’t make the full 50,000 words then you’ll still have done something millions have thought of doing but never thought they could.
NaNoWriMo is coming, and I hope you’ll sign up and enjoy it as much as I do. I’ll be doing a blog post soon on how to prepare yourself for a month of writing. If you do decide to take the plunge, look me up on the NaNoWriMo site, where my user name is Icarus Fallen. Hopefully I’ll see you there.