What Is NaNoWriMo?
Sometimes, writing happens. Sometimes you can sit alone and just… you know, write. No pressure, no worries. But only an idiot would say it was always that easy for everyone. We all have jobs, family, hobbies, habits… life, any number of reasons (excuses) why the writing never gets done. NanoWrimo is a concept designed to smash through all your excuses, for a short period of time.
WHAT IS NANOWRIMO?
Na-National No-Novel Wri-Writing Mo-month
Strictly speaking, it should be called InanoWrimo replacing the “National” with “International”, because although it started as something local to San Francisco in the good old US of A, these days it is a truly International phenomenon. I (being British) am a living testament to this. I have tried four times and “won” twice. Although you don’t get anything for winning, save for kudos, and a first draft of a manuscript- which in itself is invaluable – and a badge!
The concept is simple – to knock out a fifty thousand word novel in the space of a month. The month of November to be precise. So, given that there are thirty days in November, that means you have to write one thousand six hundred and sixty six words every day for thirty days – without fail.
Impossible? Not at all. This isn’t about quality, this is about quantity. You’re not going to do any editing. You’re not even supposed to backspace. If you write out a sentence of complete and utter nonsense, it doesn’t matter, leave it there and keep pushing onwards… try not to write fifty thousand words of purposeful nonsense though, that would be a phenomenal waste of time. All you really need is some form of electronic device with a keyboard attachment, but if you want to go all in, you can check out these awesome NaNoWriMo tool suggestions from Stephanie Ayers.
WHY YOU SHOULD DO NANOWRIMO
The real purpose behind NanoWrimo is to form a habit. It is easy to fall into bad habits, with writing, as with anything else. It is just as easy to fall out of a good habit. But with a little determination you can train yourself into a good writing habit. Writing daily is a very good habit to get into. Imagine if you could continue writing 1,666 words a day for a year. That would add up to over six hundred thousand words, or somewhere between two and ten books (depending on your propensity for novel length.) It would at the least compel you into the realms of “prolific”, and even if you start out with awful writing, the more you write, the better you get.
WHY YOU NEED A SUPPORT GROUP
Now, since the process of writing is inherently a lone-wolf scenario, you could be forgiven for thinking that you wouldn’t benefit from a support group. Experience shows that the opposite is true. A support network with writing is vital. From the basic “great job, keep it up” type groups to the “I’ll read yours if you read mine” sort, and the deliciously in-depth “best buddies for life” teams, you need support. Because writing is hard. Writing to a schedule is even harder. Writing to a grueling schedule with pressure to complete is harder still, and you know what you need when times are hard? People. People who are putting themselves through the same thing. People who know what it feels like. People who will listen to your woes and share in your triumphs. If you’re going to attempt this huge undertaking then I recommend you find a support group.
WHERE TO FIND A SUPPORT GROUP
The people over at Nanowrimo have a whole bunch of groups you can join, based on location or perhaps genre. The region groups are helpful as some groups arrange to meet up and write together.
Of course there are dozens of facebook groups, if you prefer. Some groups do a lot of prep work with tasks you can complete in the lead up to November, such as basic plotting and outlining. Join at least one, or perhaps a handful, you’ll probably find you interact more with one group once you find your kind of people.
OWS Word Mafia is open to writers of all levels.
Most importantly you should just give it a go. Jump in feet first, without looking. Even if you only write a few thousand words, that’s a few thousand more than you would have written otherwise. And who knows, you might make some life-long friends and connections in the business. You won’t gain anything if you don’t try.
Now you know what NaNo is, join us on this awesome adventure. We will have great tips all month to help you along, and in the OWS Mafia group, we will be supporting one another today. If you have any questions, let us know in the comments below.
E.C. Jarvis is a British author working mainly in fantasy and erotic romance genres. For the last thirteen years, Jarvis has been working her way through the ranks of the accountancy profession in various industries. During ten of those years she has also been writing.
Since the start of 2015, she has completed three full novels, won a number of online writing competitions and is on track to complete her first series.
She lives in Hampshire, England with her husband and daughter and cat.