This year, a few hundred thousand folks will log on to the National Novel Writing Month website and sign-up for their annual writing challenge – 50,000 words and a completed novel in one month. Sounds crazy and impossible, doesn’t it? Well, it can be crazy, but the impossible part? Not at all. By the end of the month, many of them will have completed the challenge, “winning” NaNoWriMo for the year. And most of the ones who didn’t score an official win will still be winners, all because they took the time and gave it a try. They will be X number of words into that novel that they were always thinking about one day writing. Powerful stuff.
Here are some great reasons & benefits to doing NaNo this November:
- You’re part of something bigger. Even if you never set foot in a write-in, you’ll still know that there are 300 – 400 thousand people around the world attempting the same thing. We all know that writing really is a solitary practice – no one else can do it for you. But knowing you’re not alone in it can really help. Being part of an international challenge can be truly invigorating.
- It’s a totally doable goal. All you need to do to “win” at NaNo is write a mere 1,667 words a day. That’s it. Do that and you’ll hit the 50,000 mark right on time. The folks at National Novel Writing Month HQ wanted a challenge that anyone could do, even if they worked full time and had a family.
- The support is unbelievable. Seriously, you would be hard pressed to find a better group of folks supporting one another as they all head towards a common goal. From the online forums, email pep talks and write-ins, it’s pretty much nonstop encouragement for the entire month. Everyone wants to see everyone else do their best. It’s one of the most remarkable things to be a part of.
- Talk about a feeling of accomplishment. You’ll never be the same once you cross that 50K mark. Once it sinks in that you’ve written 50,000 words over the course of 30 days, you’ll realize that you can do just about anything that you put your mind to. It’s one of the most empowering things that I’ve ever done.
- You’ll make new friends, from all walks of life. And that’s just with my local region’s group at our write-ins. If you’re active online in the forums, you’ll meet even more great folks, from all over the world. Got a question about a particular detail, or you’ve gotten yourself distracted by a plot hole or a plot bunny? Just ask and invariably one of your new friends can help you out by at least pointing you in the right direction. These folks are all usually kind, supportive, and just plain awesome.
- Stretch your comfort zone. It’s very healthy to stretch your comfort zone about things. It helps build your confidence and self-esteem and makes it easier for you to try other new things that you might be interested in. And it’s good for your brain to have a challenge.
- It’s something that you do for yourself. Even if you get up half-an-hour earlier or only write on breaks at work, this is time that you set aside for just you and you alone. How often do you make time to do something just for you? Not often enough I’m betting. Even if you don’t hit the 50K mark, learning to make time for you to do something you enjoy is going to be good for you. Promise.
- It’s a lot of fun. And the more you get involved, especially locally, the more fun it is. When else can you hang out on such a regular basis with a bunch of other writerly-type folks. We’re an odd, but loveable lot. Oh, yeah, as we have stickers. You’ll need to see us in person if you want one of the official ones, but many of us have other stickers that we also hand out at write-ins. You would be amazed at what a grown-up will do for a sticker prize…
If you really want to stretch your comfort zone while doing NaNo, attend at least one of the write-ins in your area. It’ll help you make some more of those new friends that I mentioned earlier. And even if you don’t make it to a write-in, you’ll still be challenging yourself by doing something different during the month.
It’s well established that writing is a solitary pursuit. It can be lonely, even for an introvert who likes being alone. However, even introverts like some company now and again. I know that most of the writers in my region are often shy, quiet, introverted types and I’m willing to bet that it’s the same for many other regions as well. So, this is my last pitch for you to get out of the house some, this coming November.
Take a deep breath and actually go to a write-in and meet some other writerly-types yourself. You’ll get some amazing support, they’ll talk you down from any writing ledges, you’ll make some new friends who share at least one common interest (writing), and you’ll make your local Municipal Liason very happy. After all, many of us MLs are shy, quiet introverts as well. Planning November events take us a wee bit out of our comfort zone as well. We like it when people actually show up and enjoy themselves!
This is a Guest Post written exclusively for our website by Laurel Reufner. If you want to find her on the NaNo site just click on her site page, under her username here Tryllyam. She’s the Municipal Liason for the US’s Athens, Ohio region. You can also check out her blog page here.