Writing, Writing life

What is NaNoWriMo? + Brief Thoughts on NaNoWriMo

In the secret world of writers, a word suddenly starts to float around, causing the new writers and curious, non-writer spies to wonder what this word, “NaNoWriMo”, could possibly mean.

Is it a time machine? A plan to take over the world? A new continent or planet? A secret mission? Some sort of dwarven word?

No. The answer is much simpler than that.

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It takes place every year in the month of November. Which means that right now, NaNoWriMo is almost over in fact.

During NaNoWriMo, all kinds of writers, whether published or aspiring authors, attempt to write 50,000 words in the span of 30 days. This means that they have to write 1,667 words per day every day.

Most of the time whenever I explain NaNoWriMo to someone, they think that it sounds crazy. Writing an entire novel in a month?!

But it’s actually not that insane. It is only 1,667 words per day. For me, that means writing for about 1.5 to 2 hours per day, which is doable.

This year is my second time doing NaNoWriMo. So far, my experiences from this year and last year have been completely different. My writing has grown both times from doing it, but in different ways.

Before November of last year, I had never written a complete novel. The longest thing I had written was a novella. When I first learned about NaNoWriMo, I thought it was crazy, but was also highly intrigued by it. When I did the math and realized how much it meant writing per day and how long that would take, I realized that I could do NaNoWriMo and write an entire novel.

So I did. After lots of prepping and plotting during October, I sat down in November and wrote Fyrons Flames. I wrote 50,000 words in 20 days and completed Fyrons Flames in 22 days. Needless to say, my first NaNoWriMo was a huge confidence builder in my writing abilities. I was able to write a novel. I had won NaNoWriMo with time to spare.

This year’s NaNoWriMo has been a lot different. First off, my school load looks different this year. Last year, I was able to always have a solid hour, if not more, set aside for writing. This year, how much time I have totally depends on the day. I am having to spend more time on school, which means less time for writing.

Because I have less time to write, I am getting less written. As I write this, it is November 18th. If I was entirely on track with NaNoWriMo, I would have 30,006 words of A Row of Glass Slippers written. Currently, I have 17,293 words.

Also, last year I only counted what I wrote in Fyrons Flames. This year, I’m counting all writing-related writing, such as these blog posts, simply because I don’t have time for writing a novel and keeping up with this blog.

At this rate, I’m probably not going to win NaNoWriMo this year. But I’m still not entirely out of the race. If I manage to find a day where I can do nothing but write, I’ll be able to catch up to where I need to be. So while victory is slim, it’s not impossible.

And even though I probably won’t win NaNoWriMo again, I am still super glad that I decided to do NaNoWriMo again this year.

Last year’s NaNoWriMo showed me that I could write a novel and really set me off in my writing. This year’s NaNoWriMo got me out of the rut I had been in and has been teaching me to seize every empty moment for writing and how to write when life is busy. And right now, I can’t wait to do NaNoWriMo again next year and see what I learn then.

What do you think of National Novel Writing Month? Have you ever tried NaNoWriMo before? If so, how did it go? And a good luck to all of my fellow NaNoWriMo participants!

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