I am one of those people who began writing as soon as I learned how to read.
If you don’t believe me, I can prove it to you. Tucked away with childhood keepsakes is my first masterpiece: “The Black Champion.”
Now this “novel” was essentially fan-fiction that incorporated my 3 favorite things at the time: The Parent Trap, horses, and Bollywood Movies. It was written during a time when computers still used floppy disks, and when I printed it out I was sure it was going to be the first of many stories to come.
Fast forward 15 years and I was still telling people that I hadn’t finished a book since I was 6. It wasn’t because I didn’t write—I wrote all the time! I would start stories, get about ~50 pages in and then life would get in the way. Or I would have the perfect idea, but struggle to get off of page 1 because I needed the writing to be just right.
As writers, everything is working against us. Our lives, our family, our friends, our classes, our jobs, even ourselves. That’s why every writer, no matter what age or genre, should participate in NaNoWriMo.
For those of you that don’t know, NaNoWriMo (or National Novel Writing Month) takes place during November. Starting on the 1st, participants log on with the goal of finishing a novel (or writing 50,000 words) by November 30th.
NaNoWriMo offers you a nice way to track your progress and get support from fellow writers going through the same process, but you may be asking “why is it so special?” In theory every month could be NaNoWriMo, right? Because we as writers always follow our personal deadlines, right? And we’ve never ignored our novel for other books/television shows/movies/Pinterest/family/friends/fun/my awesome electric blanket/sleep, right?
Hopefully the above does not apply to you. But if you are human and that novel you’ve been thinking about starting hasn’t been started, or that novel you started isn’t finished, you can benefit from NaNoWriMo.
It’s easy to push writing aside and say that you’ll finish your book next week/next month/next year when it’s convenient, but writing is never going to be convenient because writing a novel is probably thee most inconvenient thing you can commit yourself to doing.
That is why NaNoWriMo is so great.
For one month out of the year you are given permission to put your writing first. For one month, you are forced out of your perfectionist mindset and constantly pushing yourself towards writing that final sentence.
For me, NaNoWriMo was the push I needed to finally finish my first (real) novel. When I began writing The Keepers I was on vacation and wrote 20% over an intense 2 week period. When life started again I assumed it would only take me another month to finish my book. Fast forward 10 months into the future and my novel was only 25% done.
For all of you visual thinkers, this is what NaNoWriMo did for me:
On December 1st (1:24am to be exact) I finished the last sentence of The Keepers.
Now I won’t lie and tell you that it was query ready. The plot was exciting, but there were holes. The characters were 2-dimensional. Some pieces of dialogue sounded like they were written for a bad soap opera.
On December 1st my novel was not perfect. But it was 150 pages and 75,000 words and it was done.
I am writing this because I believe in the benefit of NaNoWriMo for new authors. There is something powerful about working on a deadline that doesn’t come from yourself, something comforting in knowing thousands of people across the world are working to finish their novel just like you.
The first step for any author is deciding to do NaNoWriMo.
The next step is deciding to do it write (get it? “write?” okay, I’ll stop now)
There are several things I did that helped me make my NaNoWriMo a success and left me with a book that had publishing potential. If you are hoping NaNoWriMo can kickstart your writing career, join me!
In hopes that I can help as many people as possible get a NaNoWriMo success story, I am dedicating the next month of this blog to tips and tricks that will help you hit the ground running.
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Whether you’re finishing a novel you’ve been working on forever or starting from scratch, join me this month as we prepare for our November success.
So buckle up. Turning “Well I’ve been writing…” to “Yeah, I just finished my book!” is officially two months away.
The NaNoWriMo Success Series: