Benefits of NaNoWriMo

For those who don’t know, NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is fast approaching. The idea is to complete an entire novel over the course of November, as the name suggests. According to their website, a novel is about 50,000 words long. While this may seem daunting and stressful, there are, obviously, benefits to it as well. Here are five reasons why I’m excited for NaNoWriMo:

  1. Completion. The most obvious benefit here is having an entire full length novel. No longer are you stuck in the dreaded land of “someday”. This is what I am, personally, most excited about.
  2. Discipline. If you find yourself struggling to find the discipline, like myself, to write every day, this will force you to build it.
  3. Deadlines. In the same vein as the last reason, you will be able to work with deadlines, set by yourself and ultimately set by someone else, in a relatively low stakes environment.
  4. Improv. Because there isn’t a lot of time to plan your novel out, you will learn to second guess yourself less, choosing to run with your first thought more often than not, concerning the current decision you have to make in your novel.
  5. Community. If you need some encouragement, or would like to discuss your NaNoWriMo woes, there is always another writer who would be willing to discuss that with you. If you aren’t able to find anyone around you who is participating, this database could help you find a group of writers near you. Or, if you’d rather stay in your office, there are plenty of places to reach out to your fellow writers online. Also there to encourage you are Pep Talks, written by successful novelists of every kind, which you can find here. I’ve found Neil Gaiman’s, specifically, to be a great source of encouragement.

In case these reasons aren’t convincing enough, consider the success of Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen. Before it was brought to life by Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson on the big screen, it had humble beginnings as a NaNoWriMo project. Other examples, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, or The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. The bottom line here is that something like this is not going to waste your time as an author, because you will always get something good out of it. Even if it still seems to be a bit too much, I encourage you to venture into it, and, hopefully, surprise yourself.

– Sam Boggs

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