National Novel Writing Month is once again upon us. Come this November, thousands of writers all over the world will attempt to cram 50,000 words into a novel over the span of a month.
As a writer myself, I was tempted into joining the masses for this event. But then I thought about writing 1666 words a day, equal to about five pages, and worried about burning myself out from writing my current novels.
So I will not be doing it for that reason. However, if you plan on participating, consider these factors first:
Why write – Consider your wishes and goals before starting. Those who have participated in NaNoWriMo before consider it a call to get motivated and write, not a freeway to getting a book published.
What to write – Should you write romance? Fantasy? Thriller? Vampires? If you are not sure, do some research on the genre (as well as sub-genre) to see what is trending and what people are currently reading if you plan to market your book.
Getting your book published – If you do plan on submitting your novel to a publisher after participating, think again. Most publishers will probably turn you down if you even mention NaNoWriMo, and only a couple of publishers are offering the chance to do it through NaNo this year.
But there’s always self-publishing.
Winning something – You are declared a winner if you meet the goal at the end. You are then eligible for prizes such as free copies of your book, other published books, or even discounts on writing software.
Quality Vs. Quantity – It takes authors a year if not more to write, re-write, edit and publish a novel, which clocks in over 90,000 words. To do half that for a beginning writer is pretty ambitious.
People who use NaNo mostly do it to “get something written down,” and then go on from there. Again, it is not a free ride to getting published!
Completing a full-length novel – There is a small percentage of people out there that can actually say they have a novel written from start to finis. NaNoWriMo is a good way to get that done. And while you may not be considered a published author at the end, you are an undisputed writer none-the-less.
Building relationships – While you participate, you have access to different forums and tools through NaNo’s site, which can help you with your writing. This is a good way to build relationships with other writers and share ideas between each other.
Personally, I feel like the idea of “winning” NaNoWriMo is nothing more than a cheap motivation to get procrastinators writing by the people orchestrating it. If you truly want to write, then writing should not be treated like a 5k run, but instead feeding your own passion.
But, if you need a little help getting started, then NaNoWriMo may just be for you.