For anybody interested in writing, then NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) could be the thing for you!
But “what is NaNoWriMo?” I hear some of you cry! Essentially, it is a challenge to write 50,000 words in one month. People from all around the world take part and chart their progress on the Nano website. Also, there are local groups where you can meet up with other Nano writers for moral support and a good old chinwag.
So yeah, I did the challenge last November and it’s one of the best things I ever did! I already had my story all planned out, ready to be written, but I was tinkering around with little ammendments, rather hesitant to actually start… I think was afraid that my writing wouldn’t be good enough! But then I heard about Nano, the challenge to write 50,000 words of a novel in one month, and thought: it’s now or never baby!
What the Nano challenge did was give me a mighty kick up the arse. The pressure of having a deadline, of telling people you have committed yourself to a challenge, really makes you want to succeed. So you keep on writing no matter what, even if some days you are churning out complete shite.
It was often hard to meet the 1667 daily target. Nonetheless, I persisted and thoroughly enjoyed seeing my story emerge on paper. To escape into a different world, to spill your crafted prose onto a blank page, to control your characters… these are the joys of writing. Only through writing can you determine if you enjoy it, and in November, I reawakened my passion.
In the end, I finished the challenge on 40k. This may not have been the 50k target, but I made the executive decision to slow down in the name of decent quality (to reach the target on time, I would have had to spew out shite). The roughness of the first draft (often called the zero draft because it is so messy) can be an issue for perfectionists, though the idea is that once you have got down all your words on paper, you can redraft and polish the piece to your heart’s content. If you can get over that inner editor, then you’re laughing!
Three months later, I’m still writing, though not as intensely. Without the pressure of Nano’s daily word count, and the pressure of completing a challenge, you naturally write less. However, I am proud to say that I am still making good progress, all thanks to the kickstart from Nano!