Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Win or Lose, NaNoWriMo is Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soul

This month has been a fog of 4:30 a.m. writing sessions and coffee induced hallucinations. I've been neglecting my blog, getting up before the rooster (I assume anyway, I don't have one), staying up late, avoiding wine, keeping my "thinking pad" with me at all times, and all for what you ask? For NaNoWriMo, duh!

In case you are not already aware, NaNoWriMo is something that I am doing for the first time this November, which is National November Writing Month (hence the catchy acronym, which I often shorten to NaNo, which often makes me think of Mork of Mork and Mindy, but I digress...)  In this month, it is my goal to write 50,000 words (that's like a paperback novel of at least 140 pages, people!) before midnight on November 30, which is truly hard to accomplish because this month my stomach also has very important plans involving turkey, pie, and family coming in town.

But what does NaNo really do? What do I win? Well, oh ye writer-who-feels-the-need-to-get-paid-before-producing-a-final-product, here is my answer to you. (I know this answer because I am just now finding out myself) You get lots.

For starters, it's fun. We writers, well, we like to write. Whether we win or not, we get to write the beginning, middle, end, or some variation thereof of a story that began as gray matter, no matter how great or awful it is. Like musicians live to play, writers live to write. Having a reason to write just makes it all the better and joining in a worldwide writing challenge is a GREAT reason.

Secondly, our book could be the next big thing! Perhaps in that part of us that believes that we are the awesomest writers ever and we just need our chance to shine, we hold out that hope that ours can become one of the wonderful books started during NaNo. It could end up on the shelf of Barnes and Noble, get a movie deal, or have actual merchandise like bookmarks, popcorn tins, and scrunchies (my hair is too short for them, but I still remember) that become ads in SkyMall. How sweet would that be?
I personally believe that the best reason is that it makes us better writers. The more you write, the more your skills develop, and by writing 50,000 words in a single month (or at least trying to), you create some hardcore writing habits that may pave your way to success. Statistically, if you keep trying, it has to happen eventually, right? That's my thought anyway. 

Before NaNo, I was lucky to write 500 words a day, if anything at all. But now, if I write less than 1500 words, the day is a wash. Seriously, 1500 words?! That's a lot- but I raised the bar for myself because now I have achieved over 4,000 words in a day (while raising kids and cooking dinner- though arguably, not doing dishes). Whew!

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at

So far, I have pressed myself farther than ever this month- and it's barely half way through! Even if there's no movie and no scrunchies, I feel that the benefit that it has brought me will last forever.

For anyone that is doing NaNo with me this year or has done it in the past, let us know what you think, how does it benefit you, if not just for bragging rights, what makes you strive to be a part of the winner's circle?

"NaNo NaNo" everyone!

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