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What about Nanowrimo?

by Louisa Klein

Hello you beautiful writers! It’s almost Nanowrimo and I bet at least some of you are contemplating the idea of giving it a try.

But others might not even know what it is, so please let me explain briefly:   with NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is a writing challenge where  one must write each day for 30 days in order to hit the goal of writing 50,000 words in a month. To finish on time, you must write 1,667 per day which is not much to many professional writes, many can write much more than that in their sleep, so to speak! I myself write over 2000 words per day between fiction and non-fiction this blog included).

So, back to our question: should you do it or at least try? Well, first of all, it depends on how experienced and how dedicated you are. If you have been steadily writing for at least a couple of years you can try it, but with one caveat: do not stress out too much, don’t feel discouraged or frustrated if you can’t hit your daily writing goal or can’t ‘finish it’ and get your badge.  

What you should do instead, it’s to consider how the challenge can help you grow as a writer, since the long-term benefits are about creating a brain change, a new mindset, so to speak, and to boost your ability to focus and concentrate on a project in a relatively short time span. It’s also about fostering the practice of turning off the analytical, critical editor part of your mind and let your creativity run wild. You also need the editorial part of your mind, of course, but the trick is to find a balance between the two because, being too critical, will definitely hold you back and prevent you from doing any work, while going too wild will, on the other hand, prevent you from doing good work.  

But how do you get that balance? Well, there isn’t one answer good for anyone. We are all different, we have different life styles, face different challenges and burdens. You might have a demanding day job, or small children who need your attention, and be battling a chronic illness or all of the above! They key to find the balance between the Wild Writer and the Critical Editor is to analyze your habits, your lifestyle, measure your energy AND FINDS OUT WHAT WORKS FOR YOU.

I suggest you use Nano as a trampoline, a starting point, an event that encourages you to do so: see when it’s the best time for you to write and then SET YOURSELF SMALL GOALS! Try to write 200 words every day for the whole month of November, for instance and see what happens. You can increase it a bit after a while, if you see that you can take it and do it easily.   

If you think about it, writing isn’t much different than exercising: you first get the right mindset, then you do a little bit every day and then a little bit more… and more … and one day you’re fit and healthy/you write like a pro!

So, without putting too much pressure on yourself, I suggest you do Nano and see what happens and how it can help you become a better writer and change your mindset from amateur to professional and see what being professional can do for you, where it can lead you; let me finish this post quoting the great science fiction writer James Van Pelt: “Between living a creative life or thinking that I’ll lead a creative life someday, I choose the first one.”

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