When I was in 8th grade, I had the choice to pick an elective class that wasn’t band and I picked creative writing. I wanted to take anything that had writing in it that year. I was going through a lot at home and writing provided a good release, so I took every writing chance I got.
Around October or so, my teacher at the time introduced us to this competition that happened worldwide every November called National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo for short. NaNoWriMo was where a writer writes a novel of 50,000 words in one month. The writer was encouraged not to edit the novel at all until it was done. No words written outside of that month got counted. There was also different motivational speeches that was sent out from established writers, NaNoWriMo lock in events, and more.
Some writers went crazy with this idea. They planed NaNoWriMo out for months in advance. They had all their characters planned and a whole map of their plot written down. But me, being in 8th grade, said something along the lines of, “Sounds like fun. I bet I can do it.” For the record, I didn’t plan anything out. I didn’t get far.
I didn’t go back to NaNoWriMo the next year. I forgot about it. I also forgot about it the next two years after that. I did remember it in time for my senior year of high school though.
I wasn’t sure what clicked in me, but I decided to try NaNoWriMo again. My first novel, MEMORIES FORGOTTEN, was completed the year before. I was almost done writing my second novel, FREE, at the time. But when I saw something about NaNoWriMo, somehow in some strange way, I decided to do it.
Which, to others who knew me at the time, was a bad idea. I was in leadership positions in band during our marching season. I was taking many advanced courses and getting ready for college the next year. Anyone in their right minds wouldn’t have taken on a national competition at the same time. But I guess you couldn’t be in the right mind and be a writer, right?
Needless to say, I completed my third novel, GAMERS FOR LIFE, through NaNoWriMo. The story didn’t stop at 50,000 words, so I kept writing through December. I’ve completed NaNoWriMo every year since and I’ve loved it for a few reasons.
1) It gets me to stop editing
I’m one of those writers who have issues taking breaks from editing my novels. I always feel the need to make my novel the best it can be. But while NaNoWriMo is going on, I can’t work on any other novel nor edit the one I’m writing. It’s impossible time wise. It forces me to take a break.
2) It gets me to write new stories
I write some short stories for class, this blog, or writing competitions that I fail at, but it takes me forever to get around to writing a new novel. NaNoWriMo gets me excited about getting another manuscript done with more experience. Perhaps this next manuscript will be the one. Who knows? It gets me writing fresh materials instead of bundling up more ideas.
3) It gets me challenged
I love challenges. That’s just the type of person I am. If you say I can’t do something, let me get you some popcorn, so you can sit back and watch me prove you wrong. Each year, I get more on my plate every November. But guess who’s still thinking of NaNoWriMo?
NaNoWriMo is perfect for writers who feel as if they can’t get novels out of them or don’t want to wait a year to write a novel. It’s also great for experienced writers to challenge themselves by making the goal of 50,000 words higher. NaNoWriMo has writing camps throughout the summer too, but I haven’t used those as much.
Are you going to be competing in NaNoWriMo this year? Have any thoughts about NaNoWriMo? Let me know in the comments below!