I’ve been trying to participate in NaNoWriMo this year. I’m pretty far behind, to be honest, but I’m not giving up. :-)
Even if I fall short, I’ll probably do significantly better with my word count than I did last month, and that’s a win any way I look at it.
November: 6,540 words.
There are some prolific authors who caution against participating in NaNoWriMo. I’m not all that prolific (even though I’d like to be), but I have exactly the opposite experience and recommendation.
During NaNoWriMo 2010 is when I finally realized I could write a book significantly faster than in a year. Yes, a YEAR. I was on the cusp of finishing my first full novel that wasn’t going to require edits because I actually paid attention to my gut and wrote it the way I wanted it as I went, making sure it wasn’t sloppy, and I wasn’t telling myself constantly that I could always go back and fix something if it wasn’t good enough.
I say cusp, because something happened that year that led me to put aside the book until the following May, but in May, I went back at it with the same NaNoWriMo attitude I’d used in November and I finished the book.
All told, I wrote 80,000 words of a finished book (that required nothing but a few little typo fixes here and there) over the course of one November and part of May—in less than 60 days, total.
Until that happened, I had no idea this was possible for me.
I credit NaNoWriMo for giving me the push I needed to learn something about myself and writing. So, even though I would love to write 50,000 words every month, and would do it if I could figure out why I can’t do it (it’s an ongoing self-castigating angst-fest, so don’t ask), I always like to try to give a little extra of myself come November and NaNoWriMo. :-)
Here’s what I do to make the most of it for me.
I ignore any and all advice that suggests I should just slop words onto the page. I write with purpose—that purpose being to finish a book that is clean and ready to go after a decent copy edit.
I take advantage of all the sprint companionship I can.
This is probably the biggest help for me. I have real trouble staying focused and getting self-motivated (and this is not a writing problem for me, it’s a life problem). These opportunities don’t come around all the time. People are excited about NaNoWriMo and I can find way more fellow sprinters than usual in the various NaNoWriMo Forums, Discord servers, etc.
Honestly, I don’t even sign up at the NaNoWriMo website anymore. I just hang out in the Discord server for my area’s NaNoWriMo group and sprint with fellow writers and try to hit 50,000 words, whether that’s a new book or something I already had started. I’m a bit of a rebel these days. :D