National Novel Writing Month has something for writers of every personality type. Tight deadlines for those who work well under pressure, well-deserved admiration for those who thrive by having their talents recognized, and the freedom to work with or without an outline, according to individual creative taste.
But NaNoWriMo offers more than the promise of high word counts and the possibility of actually finishing a whole novel in one month. Taking on the challenge changes writers in unexpected ways, working its magic under the surface while you’re busy writing your 50,000 words…
NaNoWriMo Builds Community
A huge part of the journey is keeping track of your daily word count and sharing your progress. Writers do this through Facebook, Twitter, their own writing blogs, and various other social media outlets. But the really cool thing that happens as writers talk about their hurdles and breakthroughs is that cheerleaders jump in to give support. So even the writers who don’t partake in the actual challenge still get engaged by shouting their rallying cries from the sidelines.
At the end of the arduous month of warrior-pace writing, most NaNo writers come out of it with more writer friends than when they began. This alone is reason enough to try your hand at writing an entire novel in one month. The connections you make with others have the potential to keep blossoming far down the road.
NaNoWriMo Builds Confidence
Insecurity about our talent plagues a lot of writers. We worry that we’re not capable of writing anything longer than a short story, or that we’ll never do the work required to get our brilliant idea out of our head and down onto the page. NaNoWriMo forces writers to work past these fears. When we start out with a specific deadline to meet a specific word count each day, we just don’t have time to focus on our doubts. The human brain only has so much room it can devote to anything at one time. The steady pressure of NaNo squeezes out any leftover room that might be devoted to insecurity.
At the end of the month writers can look at the pages they’ve racked up and see the physical evidence of their writing strength and skill. The finished product is undeniable proof that we are capable of doing the work, once we push ourselves to sit our butt down in the chair and get it done.
NaNoWriMo Builds Creativity
A writer’s creative spark sometimes feels elusive and ethereal, but in reality it’s actually a muscle. That’s why it’s so hard to get started again when we’ve taken a long time off writing. When the muscle is weak it needs to be worked and toned to get its mojo back. NaNoWriMo is like a personal trainer for your creative muscle. And it expects that muscle to show up every day at the gym and work at full capacity. Everyone wants awesome biceps, but no one really has that much fun doing push-ups. NaNoWriMo is the trainer standing over you reminding you of all the good reasons you’re doing those push-ups in the first place.
At the end of the intense NaNoWriMo journey, writers will see a definite improvement in their ability to manufacture new ideas, and more strength in their perseverance when it comes to sketching out complete storylines and scenes. Because their creative muscle will feel so taut and in-shape, they’ll want to work it more, and definitely show it off.
NaNoWriMo begins November 1 and goes until the end of the month. If you’re thinking about joining the challenge this year, or you’re interested in following along as a cheerleader you can:
I’ll be following along myself this year as a cheerleader to all NaNoWriMo writers. Good luck everyone and let’s make this a November to remember!
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