We're towards the end of NaNoWriMo right now, so this seemed like a fitting post. If you don't know what NaNoWriMo is, obviously you have had your head under a rock. Check it out here. This post comes too late for you to join this year, but maybe it'll convince you to try it next year!
1) If you've never written a novel, this is a good way to get one done. It gives you a specific, focused time in which to write towards your goals. I've not been in this category during NaNo, but a lot of people are, which is cool.
2) If you're a longtime novelist, it gives you time to actually sit down and write. Again, it's a specific, focused time with goals, and that's why I love it so much. I spend so much time on editing my past novels that I don't get to write often. NaNoWriMo is my chance to actually sit down and write a new book.
3) It teaches you to write fast and focused. I've seen lots of articles out there denouncing NaNo for this exact reason, saying that writing fast makes you sloppy, but the fact is writing fast is an important skill for when you build up a career. Deadlines, you know? Also, for people who struggle to actually finish a novel, this gives you the push you might need, for example, to stop editing while you're writing.
4) If you're new, it can introduce you to the writing world. NaNoWriMo has pep talks from authors, boards on which NaNoWriMoers can talk, and similar resources that can teach you, as a newbie, about the writing world. You're welcome.
5) If you're not new, you'll still meet new people and spend more time with old. It's a whole other writing community. Don't miss out!
6) You can win prizes! There are lots of promotions associated with NaNoWriMo if you win. The biggest one is that CreateSpace, a self-publishing platform connected to Amazon, will allow you to self-publish your novel for free sometime in the next month. Since I'm against self-publishing, I don't need this, but this year, if I time it right, I'm planning on using this prize to publish an abridgment of my recently deceased grandmother's journals. Good stuff indeed.
7) You get advice from published authors through the aforementioned pep talks. For experienced writers, it's not really new information, but it can be a nice reminder. For newbies, I'm sure it's of great assistance.
8) You'll be able to understand the NaNoToons, which are pretty darn hilarious, I think. Here's a link to those.
9) You'll also be able to understand NaNoWriMo: The Musical, which they made last year and which is also pretty great. Here's your link over there.
10) The NaNo website has links to resources for publishing and editing, which is very useful for newbies.
11) It makes you sound awesome. Like, writing a novel in a month? That's pretty cool.
12) You feel like a superhero when you win. Even if you don't win, you've made some progress and you're on your way! Look at you!
13) If you're not starting a novel, you can go NaNoRebel and do something else like write poetry, or short stories, or finish a novel you've already started, or edit... whatever you want. It gives you the other benefits, so you might as well.
14) There are spinoffs every month, although only two that I know of are actually official NaNoWriMo events. There's Camp NaNoWriMo in the summer, and there's Script Frenzy in April for playwrights. So if you need more options, those are there!
15) If you've got a local group for NaNoWriMo, you can go to sponsored parties and write-ins and stuff. I don't have one here, but I hear it's really fun.
16) There are also prizes during their donation spree halfway through, if you're willing to donate. Which, if you can, you should because this is an awesome program.
17) There's a kid's program too, where you can do lower word counts. Which means support for young writers! I started out there myself. I know some schools and classes do NaNoWriMo as a learning thing, which is super cool and edutastic.
18) It reminds you that the real competition in the writing world is you. Sometimes we get all jealous and competitive, but in NaNoWriMo, you're competing against yourself. I mean, there are ways to compete against others in NaNo as well, and that can be fun, but ultimately, it's about your goal.
19) For those who struggle with getting writing done, it can put you in the habit of doing the work.
20) It's a new challenge, and challenges help you grow. I like to challenge myself, so every year I up the ante. This year I'm trying to write one and a half novels in a month. Pushing yourself forward is always a good thing!
21) Since you're focusing on this one goal, you have a good distraction from the rest of life. I don't know about you, but to me, getting a break from regular life is goooood.
22) The little graph with your progress is super motivating. It makes me happy, looking at it. If you're not doing so great, it might not be so happy, but it's still motivation! It'll keep you going.
23) Bestselling novels have been born during NaNoWriMo. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan, and Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins are all examples. (This point taken from My Life as a Teenage Novelist.)
24) It's truly a lot of fun. I wouldn't do it if I didn't enjoy it, and this is my fourth year.
25) There's a story in you, and it's time to tell it.
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