Every time November draws near, writers of varying ages debate with themselves and request advice online about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), a challenge in which a writer must complete a 50,000 word novel in one month (November).
The most common question is, “Should I participate? Is it worth my time?”
Now, no one can directly answer that except the writers themselves. So here’s the pros and cons about entering NaNoWriMo, and you can decide for yourself whether or not it’s worth your attention.
- It Keeps You Writing: To win, you have to write at least 1,000 words a day to reach that 50,000 word mark by the end of November. This is a great exercise to get you into the habit of writing every day and kicking procrastination.
- Teaches You to Meet Deadlines: With NaNo, you must keep up a schedule and meet personal deadlines. No, there’s no repercussions if you don’t meet them, but it still motivates you to complete personal tasks set for yourself within the time limit.
- Gives You Access to Other Writers: In the Forums on NaNoWriMo, you can talk to other writers, exchange ideas, get advice and feedback on excerpts, or just talk and get excited about your novels. It’s a great motivator, and especially for people like me who don’t have other writer friends living close by, it’s invaluable.
- Inspiration: Being on the website, talking to other people about your novel, and seeing your word count go up every day is a huge motivator and can inspire you out of whatever writer’s block you may have been in.
- You Have a Novel: Even if you don’t “win” (aka reach 50,000 words), you still have a lot of the novel written in less time than it would usually take you.
- The Experience: If you’ve never completed a novel, now’s your chance to get the experience and feel the thrill of completing one. Even if you have, it still gives you experience and challenges your ideas and problem solving skills.
- Edits Will Be Hell: Even if you do plan it out meticulously the month before, edits are going to be (typically) much worse than usual, because you wrote so quickly. Sometimes something will happen in the book that you don’t like, but the deadline is coming up so you’ll decide to fix it later, but it may end up derailing the rest of the book, so you’ll have to rewrite the entire thing, anyway.
- The Stress: If you’re easily stressed, you may be intimidated by how much you have to write, and how much you fall behind (because at some point, unless you’re just amazing, you probably will trail behind at least a tiny bit).
- You May Lose Interest: At the end of it all, once your story is done and finished, you may hit a wall where you think, “Maybe this isn’t so great.” After obsessing over it every day for a month, once you’re finished and the high of completing it is gone, you may begin to see the flaws and your disinterest will grow. It may never leave your shelves.
- The After-Nano-Writer’s Block: Branching off of #3, you may be drained completely after NaNo that you don’t even want to jump into edits; you may not want to write anything. It can be a draining experience for anyone not used to writing that much regularly.
Hopefully this list helped you decide whether or not to participate in National Novel Writing Month. When in doubt, one can always visit their website and poke around a little to see if it’s right for them.
Let me know in the comments if this helped you at all, and if anyone decides to participate this year, send me a buddy request! I’ll be working on a Fantasy novel with the username shakespearesucks.
Check out the ongoing novel Trust Me on Channillo by M. H. Knecht!