Happy November, everyone! It’s officially the end of the year- the beginning of the holiday season. As most of us start cramming our course materials because we wasted the last few months (read: me), it’s the perfect time to take a break from exam prep and relax a bit.
By procrastinating and writing our first books.
Hey, it’s not procrastinating if you’re doing something productive.
If you’re like me and want to take your mind off from the impending finals in December, why not do something that could potentially change your life forever? I’m very serious about this, and I know what you’re thinking. How can wasting the time you could spend studying change your life forever?
Well, it can. If you pledge to participate in NaNoWriMo. Now, hold up, you’re probably wondering, what is that?
Well, if you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, you’re probably unaware of the amazing event that takes place every November- starting from Nov 1, all the way until Nov 30.
We’ll get more into that later. For now, let me sell you the idea of NaNoWriMo.
If You’re An Aspiring Writer, NaNoWriMo Can Change Your Life
If you had the chance to do something that could literally define the next few years of your life, would you do it?
You’re probably going to say yes (if you say no, then I am judging you vehemently).
In my case, NaNoWriMo did change my life. Back in 2013, when I was in the depths of the Sherlock fandom, I discovered an amazing event called NaNoWriMo. Most fan fiction writers use NaNoWriMo as the time of the year to start writing fanfiction.
I decided to do the same, and lo behold, my very first Sherlock Holmes meets Dr. Who meets Harry Potter fanfiction was born. What can I say? Crossovers were big back then, and who wouldn’t love Sherlock’s sassy criticism of Lord Voldemort’s plan to take over the wizarding world? And John’s reaction to finding out that magic exists? And The Doctor’s sonic screwdriver being invincible in the face of Dark Magic?
It was probably one of the most exciting things I’d done all year. And then came NaNoWriMo’14. Based on the positive feedback I’d gotten and the encouragement of my friends, Maria and Rach, I decided to write a novella. My very first original piece of literature.
I ended up selling it a couple of months later, and well, it basically kick-started my freelancing career. So, life-changing? Definitely.
OK, But What Is NaNoWriMo?
As you’ve probably guessed by now, NaNoWriMo revolves around writing. The term NaNoWriMo itself is an acronym for National Novel Writing Month. Every year, from Nov 1 until Nov 30, writers all across the globe get together- online and offline, where possible- to write books. The goal is to finish a manuscript of 50,000 words (or more) in thirty days.
Some writers start preparing in October. If you’re very serious about it, you’re going to spend October creating character arcs, storylines, and more. And when the clock strikes midnight on Nov 1, you will begin writing.
So, What’re You Supposed To Do?
To achieve the goal of 50,000 words, you’re going to have to write 1,667 words every day. It’s easier said than done. While it’s easy to write 3,000 or even 4,000 words in one day, if you overstep the mark during your first few days of participating in NaNoWriMo, you can easily feel drained and experience burnout.
It might sound strange to a lot of people. After all, everyone does NaNoWriMo voluntarily. How do you experience burnout in something you decided to do?
The answer is simple: the pressure. Less than 20% of people who start NaNoWriMo end up finishing it. It’s intense. Trust me. You could be proud of finishing 2,000 words in a day, but then there’s someone in one of the forums bragging about writing 6,000 words every day. The pressure is on, and if you don’t plan it right (and read too many people’s daily updates), you’re not going to make it.
Reasons to Participate in NaNoWriMo
But it doesn’t have to be so intense. In my experience, as long as you’ve got a clear goal in sight and you don’t overthink, you’re good to go. With this in mind, here’s why you- even if you’re not planning to be the next JK Rowling- should participate in NaNoWriMo’21.
You know how the saying goes: curiosity killed the cat. But in this case, the cat has eight lives left, and you get brownie points for completing NaNoWriMo.
You might think it’s lame, or you’re all alone, but there’s actually a global following that waits for NaNoWriMo every year. The rules are flexible. You don’t need to start on Nov 1. Of course, OGs will say that you HAVE to, but if it’s your first time, you can even start on Nov 5 and end on Dec 5. Or maybe you could catch up. You’d have to write a few hundred words extra, but hey- at the end of it, you’ll have a complete manuscript. Isn’t that awesome?
You Want To Start A New Hobby
Even if you’re not looking to write for publication purposes, you can totally use NaNoWriMo as a way of starting a new habit. I haven’t written anything for NaNoWriMo in the past three years. However, I’ve made it a point to write in my diary every day for the month of November. And I’m not talking about a mundane account of what I’ve done every single day.
Sometimes I’ll write about a topic that’s bothering me or something I really want to get off my chest. Writing helps, and keeping a journal is a fantastic way of staying in touch with your thoughts and emotions.
You Want To Be A Part Of Something
The NaNoWriMo community is extremely active on all social media platforms. Just use #NaNoWriMo on Twitter; you’ll be exposed to a world of conversations, memes, and so much more. NaNoWriMo is divided into various regions as well. If you sign up for the website, you can get in touch with amazing writers from your own country. You can exchange ideas and honestly, everyone’s really nice. If you’ve been feeling left out because of the pandemic, then NaNoWriMo is a great way to transition back into your pre-pandemic life.
You Want To Write
There are so many of us with a story to tell or a poem to write but never get the chance to put our words to paper. NaNoWriMo offers you the unique chance to do so- along with millions of other people.
If you think you’re the only one writing for the first time, you’ll be surprised to see how many first-timers join NaNoWriMo every year. You have the chance to connect with people in the same space as you, and you can support each other along the way.
So, What’re You Waiting For? Participate This Year!
Seriously, sign up for an account on NaNoWriMo.org and begin your writing journey today. It took me a very long time to actually sign up on the platform, but you shouldn’t make the same mistake. If anything, your account on NaNoWriMo will serve as an archive of projects you’ve started and finished over the years.
In 2018, I actually finished the manuscript of what I hope will be my very first book. This year, I’m doing NaNoWriMo to polish it and make it literary agent material. If I can do it (and I’m putting off so many things to do this), so can you!