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Writer Wednesday: Embrace the NaNoWriMo!

Happy Wednesday's authors, and welcome to another week in 2020. We hope you remember to be kind to yourselves today and put your mental health first and foremost. November is known for many things aside from Turkey and Election Season. It's also officially the month long, possibly masochistic event known as NaNoWriMo. Today is day four in the NaNoWriMo zerg fest, and while I am deliriously behind on goals, I still hope to catch up and join in. So, let's take a pause from Doomscrolling today and talk about this writerly venture.

What is NaNoWriMo?

National Novel Writing Month started as a challenge for aspiring authors to write 50,000 words in 30 days during the month of November. It was started in 1999 by Chris Baty and featured roughly 20 something participants. This challenge has since gained a website and become an internet hub for writing communities from Coast to Coast and all over the world. NaNoWriMo creates an interactive novel writing experience, with progress badges, community support, and writerly rewards and perks for reaching that sweet, sweet, 50k goal. NaNoWriMo also works closely with literacy charities, promoting writing and reading programs through the states through user donations and their swag shop. Since it's inception, NaNoWriMo has raised thousands of dollars for Room to Read, it's Young Writers program and others and grown to well over a hundred thousand participants every year.

Why Challenge Yourself?

Most writers keep an intensive schedule throughout the year. Why heap on this added challenge during one of the busiest and hectic months of the year? Well, there are several reasons NaNoWriMo could prove useful to your writing endeavors.

  • Jump start that project you've been sitting on for ages. One of the best parts about the NaNoWriMo challenge is it's 'just do it' energy. The daily word count goal and ultimate pace demand you let the words flow and sometimes that can be a magical catalyst if you are struggling to get a project going.

  • Could help you regain some writing discipline. This has been a tough year for so many creatives. The community spirit and energy of NaNoWriMo could be just the kick in the pants many of us need to get back on the writing ball. Even if you don't hit that ultimate 50k count, the point of the challenge is to get writing.

  • The Winner's Perks are actually quite nice. The winner perks have improved every year for NaNoWriMo, including big discounts to writing programs like Scrivner and Pro Writing Aid, publishing discounts for Ingram Spark, and access to fun writing games like 4theWords, an RPG based game where you vanquish foes with word sprints, perfect for the gamer author.

  • You could find a new writing community. I cannot stress enough how much the modern author needs a support network. In this business, a strong author to author support network can lift you up, keep you sane, and help you field the ever changing publishing scene. NaNoWriMo boasts a wide range of participants from first time aspiring novelists to indie veterans and big five published authors. The forums could be a path to find a writing group that engages, inspires, and keeps you accountable to that word count.

  • You may surprise yourself. Even if you have a fumbling start, which many of us might this year, you may surprise yourself but what you achieve at month's end. You might find the bones of a story that could blossom into something great.

Well Being Comes First

You've decided to take the plunge and sign up for the challenge. The month of November is a strange beast. Time moves in strange ways during this month, with approaching holidays, daylight savings time, and the nine million other things happening right now. Your brain might welcome the distraction of a writing challenge, but if not, that is okay too. If you don't reach the 50k, if you only managed 500 words, that is still 500 words you've managed to get onto the page. Every small victory, is still a victory. You win just by trying. In the thick of November, if you are lagging on word count, the odds can feel stacked against you, but self care comes first and remember to take care of yourself first and foremost. The words will be waiting for you.

Resources & Further Reading

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