Countdown to NaNoWriMo

It’s rare to find someone in the writing community who hasn’t heard of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Every November, thousands of writers — published and unpublished — embark on a mission to write 50,000 words in thirty days.

If you’re wondering, “Is that a lot?” the answer is YES! Broken down, you’re essentially writing 1,667 words a day.

Most writers, including yours truly, can punch out 1,000+ words each writing session with ease. But daily, with all the obstacles of life — daytime jobs, kids, spouses, etc — it’s not always feasible. 

Personally, my daily goals are not word count related. I strive to write for at least 25 to 30 minutes a day. Within that timeframe, I can usually type out 1,000+ words. On rougher days, I’m lucky if I get a solid 100 words down. But for me so long as I’ve sat and focused on writing for 25-30 minutes a day, I walk away feeling productive.

Many writers prefer word count goals. NaNoWriMo is the biggest word count goal you can dedicate yourself to for a month.

I’ve done NaNoWriMo in the past. I’ve also done the July CampNaNo, which allows you to choose a different kind of goal like how many pages you want to edit a day or how many minutes you want to write in a month. It’s why I’ve always preferred CampNaNo to NaNoWriMo. It also never helped that I’d be finishing a draft come November and I’d use that time to relax before diving into edits.

But this year, I’ll actually be taking part in NaNoWriMo.

Yes, I am going to break my preference of writing 30 minutes a day to writing 1,667 words a day.

Why am I changing it up?

The great thing about NaNoWriMo is it allows you to challenge yourself. You connect with writers all across the world participating in it. You’re all doing this crazy thing. You’re telling a story you’ve wanted to write forever.

At its core, NaNoWriMo is your ultimate cheerleader. It wants you to succeed. It wants you to befriend a community that has each other’s backs. Seriously, just search #nanowrimo or #preptober and you’ll find millions of posts. This thing grows every year.

Preptober, for those who don’t know, is when writers plan what they’re going to write or how they’re going to write during NaNoWriMo. Hence the name PREPTOBER (prepping in October). People have created workbooks, downloads, and playlists they then share worldwide. 

My favorite thing about NaNoWriMo is how together the writing community becomes. How much we’re there to hold each other accountable and lean on when we’ve had a bad writing day.

While I don’t talk about what I’m writing, I can say here it’s part of a memoir I started back in April. I plan on using NaNoWriMo to complete Parts 2 and 3. Part 1 is finished. Now, I want to challenge myself and get the remainder of the book written so I can start editing in 2021. 

I’ll be honest and tell you the two other times I’ve attempted NaNoWriMo I “lost.” Meaning, I didn’t write 50,000 words in thirty days. But I wrote a hell of a lot more than I thought and I was proud of what I accomplished.

That’s what NaNoWriMo wants you to take away. You set out to accomplish this insane task. Whether or not you did is irrelevant. Be proud of yourself no matter what. 

I’ll share more about my NaNoWriMo journey as we get into the thick of it. Until then, tell me, are you participating this year? Have you tried it in the past? Have you won? Hit the comments below.

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