It’s November and that means that many writers are looking at a Word Count Workout!
Yes, National Novel Writing Month (or Nanowrimo) is here again! Nanowrimo is a writing challenge that encourages writers to write 50,000 words over the course of a month. An incredible task for anyone in school or with a day job. Apart from that? Very few rules. Most people have a daily word count or try and push themselves over the course of a weekend (maybe scribbling along the side of their notebooks in class, I don’t know). Some places have meetups where people gather in a coffee shop or library, doing word battle with one another to try to get to their end goal! However you write, the point is that you’re writing!
I have done Nanowrimo 3 times in my life. My first attempt was in college. I honestly forget what it was about, but I failed. Miserably. It was a rough first go, but boy was it fun. So when I attempted the next year, I managed to pull it off! It was rough (to say the least) and it wasn’t pretty, but I had a draft! I still have and sometimes look back on it, trying to find that hunk of gold in the dirt. I rarely luck out. But think I had a noticeable improvement over the first and second attempt around attempt three. I think, honestly, this is the point of Nanowrimo. To just do something!
Lots of writers do Nanowrimo and I encourage others to do it as well! It’s fun, builds a community and motivates better than any other deadline. I know of a few books that have come from Nanowrimo (The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern, for one). This isn’t to say that every Nanowrimo novel will be a success, but it shows the potential. Every fifty thousand words of crap you write are better than the five hundred words of pure gold you never write.
So, here’s my number one piece of advice for the first-time (or veteran) Nanowrimo Participant! You have permission to suck. Fail, but do it gloriously. You will learn so much more from a failure than from a success. It’s not called “Nation Novel Writing and Editing Month” for a reason. Try, fail, revise, start over. If your first draft is perfect, you’ve overlooked something.
So, without further ado, get out there and writer, Word Warrior! Your story won’t write itself, no matter how hard we try. Good luck and Godspeed.