Hello authors, it's time for another Writer Wednesday where we talk industry, craft, and more! Welcome to November, and to one of the greatest personal and community driven writing challenges. November is National Novel Writing Month, where authors challenge themselves to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Any genre, any plot, any style. NaNoWriMo is not a contest and has no stakes other than what authors set for themselves. There are some 'rewards' for authors available on the NaNoWriMo website such as discounts for writing tools and such, but most of the rewards involved with this challenge are the personal accomplishments you make along the way.
Roll Up Your Sleeves for NaNoWriMo
Now, before I dig into reasons why NaNoWriMo is worth taking up from an author's perspective, I want to a moment and acknowledge what NaNoWriMo can do for an author's mental health. There are two sides to this coin, both good and bad, and it truly depends on one's personal mindset when attempting this challenge. As authors we often put a lot of pressure on ourselves and internalize failures, even if they are for challenges with no outward stakes like NaNoWriMo. Writing 50,000 words in a month is a hefty challenge, especially for authors juggling day jobs, family responsibilities, school work, etc. Failing to reach that 50k target happens, and rather than see the accomplishments made in the attempt, many only see the failure to reach the end goal.
Rather than seeing NaNoWriMo as an all or nothing challenge, one should try to approach it as piecemeal goals, something NaNoWriMo also embraces with its incorporation of progress badges to encourage that mindset.
What a challenge like NaNoWriMo can also represent is a pause, a way to take a breath from the steam roll of current events, and take part in a communal and personal challenge. NaNoWriMo, for all its unintentional stress, can also provide a respite and a way to find one's creative Zen in a maelstrom.
A Worthy Challenge for Authors
There are many benefits to attempting the NaNoWriMo challenge. It is a challenge that promotes healthy writing habits, setting daily target goals that are reasonably attainable. Those target goals shift and reflect missed days, to help authors see how they can keep on track without overwhelming themselves.
NaNoWriMo also offers several ways to connect to a wider author community through their forums and local write in events. In the wider social media community, authors can often find others taking up the attempt to cheer one another on.
But the greatest benefit for authors concerning NaNoWriMo is that it is a great spark to get writing. Whether you reach that ultimate 50k goal or not, NaNoWriMo can be the push that helps break a long block. Even if that push is a stumbling start, getting words on the page is what NaNoWriMo is all about.