writing post

5 Reasons to Participate in NaNoWriMo

Hi world! Looks like it’s been a while since I last updated the blog, which makes sense. I’ve been rewriting old drafts, revising and making things more perfect with new ones, and battling two new stories that want to be written.

That being said, it’s almost time for NaNoWriMo again! First day is Tuesday, and it almost feels like it was yesterday when I sat down to write my YA Fantasy about thieves, jinn and princesses who are not so helpless. I’ve been through four drafts of that one already, but time flies, and here we are again.

I love NaNoWriMo. It lets me focus on the writing part, just drafting with no regrets and leaving everything else behind. No need to revise stuff or anything else. All it takes is just getting through the goal of the day. So if you’re in doubt where to participate, here are 5 reasons why you should.

  1. There’s no time like the present. I know a lot of people say “I’ll write this draft eventually” or “after I finish chores” and you keep putting it off. Really, that draft is never going to be done if you don’t sit down to write it.
  2. “I don’t have the time.” YOU SIT IN A THRONE OF LIES. Writing is constantly about making time to write. A lot of authors out there also have a day job. We always have to make time for writing.
  3. The community. If you’re feeling discouraged, NaNo’s community is the best. There are constant sprints on twitter, and you can motivate yourself to write by joining them. Make friends and go write your story.
  4. NaNoWrimo puts on pressure. Pressure is good when you want to finish a draft. Sometimes we keep trying to revise drafts as we go instead of simply writing. NaNo lets you go of that. You’re free to write whatever you want.
  5. By the end of the month, you’re farther than before. Winning NaNo is great. But the best thing about it is starting a new story, getting anywhere you weren’t before. It’s better to try and write anything, even if it’s 5,000 words. You’ll be 5,000 words ahead than you were before the month started.

Did I convince you? I hope so!

There’s a reason I love NaNo, and it involves all of the above. I love drafting, and it’s just a time where I can draft and leave everything else behind. It exercises creativity, improvisation, and it doesn’t make you feel accountable that the draft has to be perfect. Drafting will never be perfect, but at least you’ll have one.

There are many people who are against NaNo, because it makes you write “faster”, or if it’s not worth it because it’s something you do every day. Don’t let anyone tell you that writing is effortless – IT ISN’T. IT NEVER IS. With NaNo, you have to clock at about 1,700 words every day for a whole month. That’s a lot of work. And it doesn’t matter if you’re just writing random stuff, what it matters is that you’re writing.

The saying “practice makes it perfect” is true.  It took me a year and a half to write a draft of my first book. 8 months to write the second one. Now I can finish a draft in two months, give or take a few days. It’s about writing every day, it’s about practicing. It doesn’t matter what you write because eventually, in your own time, you’ll get there.

That’s what matters the most.

Now if you want some way to prepare, here are 5 great ways to do so, based on all my previous experiences

  1. Plan a little ahead. You don’t have to plan every single part of the plot, but you should know something about your world and your characters. Who is your character? What do they want? What is the main part of the plot? Keep a folder or a couple of paper sheets with ideas that you have and what you want to do. When you start developing your world, you can jolt down plot ideas there as well.
  2. Write a query letter for the project. I always feel like writing queries keep me focused on the objectiveness of the project and the main plot and stakes. It doesn’t have to be a perfect query letter, it just has to contain my characters, world, and the stakes in it.
  3. Start a Pinterest page and/or a Spotify playlist. NaNo is really tough, and sometimes you get really exausted. Sometimes inspiration just doesn’t come. To keep yourself inspired and motivated, creating playlists and things that are related to your project. When you’re feeling down, just go browse your own inspiration board to get some of that writing mojo back.
  4. Call friends to participate with you. I’ve never done NaNo alone, and always invited more friends to join me. That way, we can encourage each other and keep each other motivated. Besides, you can untangle plots together and do writing sprints!
  5. Don’t worry too much. Mental health is always first, and don’t push yourself too hard (don’t lose sleep, don’t forget to eat, etc.) If you can make your goal, great! If you can’t, that’s ok too.

I hope these tips help you in your writing journey! And if you’re doing NaNo, feel welcome to add me as your buddy. I’m onlybylaura over there.

And if you have done it before, what are your usual preparations? How do you keep yourself motivated during a whole month?

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