Tuesday, October 27, 2015

NaNoWriMo 2015

Why write a novel in 30 days? The idea of writing an entire novel (or at least 50k of it) in 30 days sounds crazy. You might be a little crazy just thinking about it. October has been a hectic month for me, and now with my wedding two weeks away, time is even going by quicker. Despite time working against me (when it comes to blogging and writing as of late), I didn't want to miss out on writing this post before the start of November.
I'm here to tell you why I think writing a novel in 30 days could be the best decision you've made. And if you've already made the decision, I'm here to remind you why.
For nearly 7 years now I've participated in NaNo. Every November I've decided on a novel, announced it, and dedicated the entire month to it. Many times, especially in my early years, I failed terribly. 50k seemed like so much! I wondered if it was impossible for me to accomplish, and it was something only truly experienced writers could do. That's not the case. NaNo is actually the perfect exercise for your brain and your writing craft. The past four years of NaNo my novels have consisted of everything following Cursed With Power. Shadows and Embers was titled "Punished With Destiny" at the time when I wrote it for NaNo, and Thicker Than Blood was never "officially" completed in time because I submitted the novel past midnight. (Serves me right for not setting myself multiple reminders.) Last year, in 2014 I finally officially won with Bloodline Inheritance. I had already written some of the novel before the challenge, and NaNo helped me finish. After November I focused on edits and revisions. It was what finally pushed me to the edge and reminded me why I needed to finish my novel. I think it was honestly what helped me release the book in the normal timeframe that I do.
I've heard a lot of different ideas about NaNo. Some writers are against it; they think it forces too much out of a writer. And I can understand their view on that. Honestly I think the starting years of NaNo are the hardest. They challenge you in a way you're not used to, and the only person you have to hold yourself accountable is... yourself. It's scary, and 30 days feels like 2 days by the time you're finished. I say this because I'm the kind of writer that doesn't push myself to the extreme every day. I write at night, usually very late. The most I've done lately is nearly 5k in one night. I'm happy just to reach 10k in a week. And I consider this schedule I have for myself and the word count I manage to accomplish to be actually very forgiving compared to what my other writing friends do. Some writers can crank out 20k in a day. I just don't have the energy or time for that when I cannot write full-time. Nights or days when I'm off of work are my time to catch up.
You're right to think that NaNo isn't for everyone. For some it will be too demanding and frustrating. However, I will say I think you should give it a chance. I've done it every year for the past six years, and I don't regret anything. My very first year I wrote my entire novel on a typewriter -oh, what a mistake! But it's a learning process, and it's a challenge that has a lot to offer if you can stay dedicated to your goals. There are so many ways to succeed, and there's so many people, blogs, and advice on the internet to help you. There's word count charts of how many words you need to write each day to make it to 50k. It's not impossible, and even if you fail your first year or for a couple years... It's not winning that matters. Winning is to share with your friends and family, to show them that for 30 days you dedicated yourself completely to your novel. It's something to share and be proud of, and you have every right. It's something to learn from and to help others with in the future. What you take from this experience can help others in future years. It might not change the type of writer you are instantly, but it will help you grow. It will help you weed out the bad novel ideas and find the good ones. It will make you thankful for the other months in the year where there's no time limit.
I've written novels in 30 days because I love the stories behind NaNo and the writers making it a success. Through the failures and successes, everyone comes out in December a little different from where they were in November.

As I've mentioned previously I won't officially be doing NaNo this year due to my wedding and honeymoon. October hasn't been as successful as I wanted it to be, but December will be my NaNo month. I still have my own deadlines to work with, and by the end of December I do want to be finished with the first draft of Clara and Claire. But don't worry November is still a month I plan on writing as much as I can before November 13th (wedding day!). I'll be sharing my progress and cheering for those of you joining in on the madness this year.
So if you're doing NaNo this year, tell me, what's your novel? Share below in the comments; I can't wait to hear your ideas!
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