Take an objective look at the NaNoWriMo writing challenge and a few obvious issues immediately become apparent.
There is no sure fire process to finishing a book. Completion is still a matter of putting pen to paper. Sitting down to create 55,000 to 75,000 words of original fiction is always going to be a challenge even for those who have done it. There is no certainty that a book in 30 days is going to be any good.
Those who look at the NaNoWriMo writing challenge and point to the uncertainty of success in participation miss the point.
Once you’re able to orient your thoughts about NaNoWriMo realistically, there are a lot of good lights to shine on the way organizers have structured the challenge.
NaNoWriMo Builds Community:
Take one look under the hood at the NaNoWriMo site and its clear. The people behind the challenge understand it’s all about teamwork.
Writers bond. They join groups. They broadcast successes.
Most new writers will tell you that the challenge to writing a novel is that feeling of solitude. Participants in NaNoWriMo get something pretty close to a cheering section.
In Community Comes Support:
Unless you are uniquely built, somewhere in those 30 days you will come up short of your number. You will succumb to family pressure. There will be a belly ache to contend with.
NaNoWriMo gives writers the chance to vent in good company. Whether that rant comes under the hashtag #NaNoWriMo or in one of the support groups, your bad day won’t be endured in solitude.
Your family may not understand you. But your community will.
I love this about NaNoWriMo. It gives writers a structure to follow. However we want to romanticize the creative brain and how it works, we all need a basis of structure to complete work.
While 30 days to write 55,000 words seems sadistic, there is a method to the madness there. Right? A month is a cut and dried amount of time. A number of words is the goal.
They answer the tough questions for you. How much? When? How do I get there? It’s all there.
The opposite of structure, perhaps. But you can participate in your own way. Do you have an outline already and need to kickstart? Do you have a first draft that you’re going to tear down and start over?
Because there isn’t actually a laurel attached to this challenge (here is a fact — no one wins) there is a high degree of flexibility. Make what you want of the time.
As stated above, no one wins. You do. When you finish.
Follow Up Support:
Even when December 1st arrives, NaNoWriMo remains. The month may be over but under the organization’s site there are a number of resources and support mechanisms in place to keep the writing process moving forward.
And that’s the goal, right? Make the writing life move forward.
We all know that writing 55,000 words in 30 days isn’t the end (at least I hope you know that…) but the momentum gained in November is enough of a springboard to take the next step with confidence.