KiMBALL PETERSON

AUTHOR - LIFE HACKER- CREATIVITY EXPLORER

It's NaNoWriMo Time Again

This will be a short and sweet post.

If you want to be a novelist but you’re not making the progress you’d like, spend November doing National Novel Writing Month. The official site has all the needed information: https://nanowrimo.org/ so I won’t explain it here.

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You will learn a lot about yourself and what you can accomplish by creating a novel from scratch, at a minimum 50,000 words, in a month. It is a great way to test your grit, creativity, and your actual desire to write. Many people want to be a writer, but find the work much harder than anticipated. By actually doing the work and finishing the 50,000 words, you can prove to yourself that you can do it. It transformed my relationship to writing so I know it works.

I’ve done a couple of these on a formal basis. Participating online with other people taking on this challenge and meeting with members of local groups is very motivating. I met the word goal both times.

Now, since I have several projects in progress which don’t fit the official NaNoWriMo model of creating a new novel during the month (they have a ridiculous “start fresh” rule which makes absolutely no sense), I informally participate by using November as an annual month long ‘push-to-completion’ exercise. The idea is to put the same time and effort into a current project that I would if I had to produce 50,000 original words for the official count. I keep a daily log including hours spent and words produced. This year, I’m currently in final editing mode on one of my projects (which runs about 135,000 words), so time spent will be the target.

How have I done in the past with this informal ‘push-to-completion-let’s-pretend-I’m doing-NaNoWriMo’ annual exercise? Not as well as I’d like. Something always comes up, particularly due to the weird timing of Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday prep that takes place the last week or so of the month, and it’s somehow just not the same as participating in the formal program. Choosing the month of November just doesn’t make sense to me, but it is what it is. The timing really proves whether you have the grit to finish or not.

But it’s always worth the effort to set aside one month to write like you really mean it, and I’ll be doing it again this year.

If you already have a work in progress and you’re not moving your novel along as fast as you like, I think this commitment to intensive writing is a great way to get out of the rut.