NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month. It started in the U.S. but was such a great idea it was adopted globally. The goal is to write the first draft of your novel by writing at least 50,000 words in the month of November. That’s at least 1,677 words a day.
Sounds pretty tough but there are many reasons why Nanowrimo succeeded where others have failed. Here are eight:
1) Nanowrimo is persistent. I became a member in 2011 and up until last month did nothing. But it kept sending me reminder notes and encouraging words. After six years of determined procrastination, it got to me. I signed up to do my first novel this year and ended up writing more words than I imagined.
2) The wordsprint is a stroke of genius. With a demanding job on my plate, there was no way I could spare two hours or more a day but … but … I could do 45 minutes. Enter the nanowrimo wordsprint. It was just what I needed to reach my daily word count target.
3) Need a pep talk? Nanowrimo’s got you covered. Your own personal nanocheering squad includes bestselling novelists Kevin Kwan from Crazy Rich Asians to Dean Koontz, Roxanne Gay and Julie Murphy. For days where I was feeling a little bit lazy, I would read one of the pep talks. Once I’ve read a few, I’m back on the keyboard typing away.
4) My favourite Nano feature? The “Add to total word count”. Nothing beats the satisfaction of adding 1,700 words a day to – during a very inspired weekend – 13,400 words. On my worst day, I wrote five words. But hey, it’s still an uptick.
Research photos for my novel:
5) Nanowrimo’s 30-Day Book Cover collaboration with very talented designers. I admit I felt a pang of jealousy seeing 30 lucky nanovelists watch their story idea come to life in one glorious image. But seeing those book covers every day also egged me to write – hoping that in the lottery of life I get my book idea selected. #stilljealous
6) Sponsor discounts! There are a plethora of editing and noveling software programs to choose from and, arguably, you can leg it like Jane Austen. But knowing that there are handy tools out there is very comforting. You discover many of them through Nanowrimo and, if they fit the bill, you can get them at a serious nanodiscount.
7) Camp Nanowrimo. God bless the team at Nanowrimo for supporting young kids in their writing journey. Talent is great but nothing beats practice and hard-earned skills to improve your craft. The sooner you start, the better. Luckily, Nanowrimo supports big kids like me, too!
8) Those regular emails of encouragement and the nanobuddy networks are a Godsend. If it weren’t for them I’d still be staring at a blank page.
If you’ve always wanted to start (and finish) a novel but don’t know how, I recommend participating in the next Nanowrimo event. It’s been an amazing journey for me and I know that it’s helped a lot of first-time novelists, too.