National Novel Writing Month (“Nano” or “Nanowrimo” for short) starts TODAY and my very first time participating was last year, 2015. I really enrolled because I teach, I could tell my students what it’s like and offer advice for making use of it so I enrolled in the writing program that’s all the rage nationwide.
But NaNoWriMo is more than a national monthly thing screaming “Over here, look at us,” it’s a movement unlike others pushing you to write 50 THOUSAND words in a single month. You can even win prizes and obtain badges that only other NANO writers can appreciate and you would think this doesn’t motivate you but it really does. You know those of us who are motivated by something as simple as an AOL made guy that tells us You’ve Got Mail. You know he used to excite you, don’t lie.
So, after November 2015 came and went, I’ll admit, I was annoyed when I hadn’t reached their gold standard. I let that get me down and I didn’t initially think that I’d done anything spectacular. I missed the goal, so fooey, right?
BUT, a year later, time reveals all, seriously, I realized a couple of things that everyone can remember in any journey or pursuit, especially those of us that didn’t make our goal in the least.
Nano isn’t about the final goal or the end result, at least it shouldn’t be. It’s great, don’t get me wrong but there are plenty of veteran NANO folks that likely don’t make their goal and yet they participate anyway, so I’d beg to say that first, NANO is about a real effort toward writing CONSISTENTLY, not the goal. Focus on the motivating factors and even if you don’t make a progress amount of whatever the 50 divided by 30 days should be, but you did focus on putting something on paper, celebrate that and let it be a worthy commendation.
Next, NANO is about COMMUNITY. We writer’s lament often about the isolationism that comes from a solitary career spent alone with your computer and your cat. You can have buddies in NANO, and for one full month, they are all working and striving for a common goal, to get to 50K. So, find some Facebook friends and get their handle and there it is: your NANO community.
It’s about ENCOURAGEMENT – NaNoWritMot has lots of resources and writers quotes to cheer you AND they have a bunch of pep talk articles written by other writers in the same boat as you are. Write of course, but take time to gain a little sustenance and mental nourishment to keep going on the journey. You can even link up with your cyber buddies and you can check on each other’s word count to see how each of you are progressing. Give yourself a reward for your own made up mini goals. NaNo can’t stop you from a second trip to the cookie jar and I won’t tell either.
Like most diets, I think that even the powers that be at NaNoWritMo know, Results Not Immediate and really offers you more LONG TERM (later) RESULTS if you’re paying attention- Now that I’m one full year removed, I realized that in essence, I finished not one but two and a half books.
1. Pack Light: Thoughts for the Journey – out now and
2. Deadly Affections (sequel to Anchored Hearts) which debuts very soon.
3. In a year’s time, I’ve even written some on my first story to feature a heroine with a disability.
Really, I completed almost three books (in the months that followed) because I was excited about what NANO started and I obviously continued to write and at the very least, NANOWRITMO may have boosted the idea generator and trying to be consistent managed to worm its way into my daily activities long after NANO was over. If participating in NANO isn’t responsible for at least a portion of that then I’m just cray-cray.
So, if you can look beyond the big 50 thousand word goal looming in the distance and make a conscious effort to do your very best, you may find some equally helpful results come out of your efforts besides the final word count and honestly, those are just as important.
Ready? Be my buddy. I’m “Traceeg” at Nanowritmo.org