When I was in 8th grade, I took creative writing. I wanted any writing class that year. Writing provided a good release for me, so I took every chance I got.
Around October or so, my teacher introduced us to a worldwide competition called National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). During NaNoWriMo, a writer wrote 50,000 words – a novel – in one month. They encouraged writers not to edit the novel until it was all done. We had motivational speeches sent from established writers, NaNoWriMo lock-in events, and more.
Some writers went crazy with the idea. They planed their novel months in advance. 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 also didn’t get far.
The next year, I forgot about NaNoWriMo. I also forgot about it the next few 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. I had completed my first novel the year before and was almost done writing my second one. But when I saw something about NaNoWriMo, I decided to do it.
Which, to those who knew me at the time, was a bad idea. I held leadership positions in band during our marching season. I took many advanced courses and was getting ready for college. Anyone in their right mind wouldn’t have taken on a national competition. But I guess someone can’t be in the right mind and be a writer.
Nevertheless, I completed my third novel then. 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 who has issues with taking breaks from editing my novels. I always feel the need to make my novel the best it can be. But during NaNoWriMo, I can’t work on any other novel nor edit the one I’m writing. It forces me to take a break.
2) It gets me to write new stories
I write short stories for class or competitions, but it takes me forever to get around to writing a new novel. NaNoWriMo gets me excited about getting another manuscript done. Perhaps this next manuscript will be the one. Who knows? It gets me writing fresh words instead of bundling up more ideas.
3) It gets me challenged
I love challenges. If someone says I can’t do something, let me get them some popcorn, so they can sit back and watch me prove them 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. There are 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!