Writer's Notebook

Why NaNoWriMo?

Posted on September 8, 2017 at 6:00 PM

I thought I would let you know why I am planning on participating in NaNoWriMo, and let you tell me why you are (or aren't). 

It seems the writing community is a little divided on the issue, with lots of writers praising the contest, and an almost equal ammount snubbing their noses at it. It does make sense. All first drafts are terrible. And so, NaNoWriMo will turn out a LOT of novel manuscripts that are nowhere near being ready for publication, although quite a few contestents will want to publish them right away. 

I love NaNoWriMo because it gives writers (myself included) a great chance to stop planning and start doing. There can be accountability, with other writers especially, but even with friends and acquaintances. By saying, "I'm going to write a novel in a month," you can give yourself the room to actually do it. That being said, it does take some planning to get to NaNoWriMo and be successful. My first attempt was not. I got 20,000 words in and my efforts petered out. 

But here is why: I had a novel idea that was spinning around for a few years, slowly gaining traction. When I heard about NaNoWriMo, I decided I was going to go for it. I showed up November 1st and started writing like mad. But I didn't finish it. I got about halfway through and realized that there were questions of theological importance that I needed to answer before I could continue. 

Here is what I wish I had done. I wish I had taken the time to outline my novel before I started. I didn't set myself up for success. In fact, if I had outlined my novel, it would have been much easier for me to finish the word count, or even push past it. Let's face it, 50,000 words is not quite a novel, it's a novella. But that is alright, because people like reading novellas. 

All this to say that I am participating this year because I enjoy writing. And, I am still working on the novel I started last year. I am working on the novel I started my freshman year at CCU. NaNoWriMo is the perfect motivation to keep at it, and through my experince with it, I have learned how to write better, how to research in a time-effective manner, and a lot of other useful tools to add to my writing process. 

However, I do encourage all things in moderation, and so I will be planning for NaNoWriMo, and if you are thinking of participating this year, I encourage you to do some research and to join me in outlining our novels for a more successful November. 

Categories: Writer's Notebook, Advanced Creative Writing: Fiction

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