Pros and Cons of NaNoWriMo
It’s October! Which means November and the stupendous (yet horrific) goal of 50,000 words are right around the corner! I’ve spoken to many people who are unsure about participating in NaNoWriMo. Some love it, some hate it, and others are terrified of it. I’m in the “love” category, but I’ll do my best to give you an unbiased list of the pros and cons of joining in with this activity. Scroll down a bit if you’d rather hear my opinion.
- You can meet other writers in your area.
- You can make friends with people you never would have met otherwise.
- You can get tons of advice on writing.
- If you’re ever stuck on something, you have plenty of people to ask.
- You will never be short of encouragement.
- Writing with a deadline is a great kick-start if you lack ambition.
- The focus on quantity not quality can clear away writer’s block.
- You get tons of goodies!
- Even though 50k words is your ultimate goal, people applaud you no matter how much (or little) you write.
- You can learn a lot about yourself, your writing style, and the writing process.
- You have the option of self-publishing your manuscript if you reach the 50k word goal.
- It’s another thing to put on that to-do list.
- Writing 50k words a year isn’t going to make you a better writer.
- The goal is to write a lot, not write well.
- People might look at you funny (friend of mine is convinced NaNoWriMo is a cult of necromancers who worship microscopic robots).
- It’s hard.
- It takes time.
- You might meet people you don’t like.
Here’s where I get opinionated:
In my younger years, I would write frequently but I only a few pages of any given story. I never finished any writing project unless it was an assignment for school. After high school, my manager in the library I worked at told me about NaNoWriMo. The following year, I decided I would go for it as a full-time student with a part-time job. That’s how God-Chosen came to be.
NaNo worked out great for me. My first draft of God-Chosen was certainly nothing special (it still isn’t) but it was a completed novel, beginning to end. I never would have written it if it weren’t for NaNoWriMo. I wrote over 8,000 words the first day and finished the 50,000 by the 23rd of the month. I stopped there for Thanksgiving and exams, but I reached my goal. I did it. I wrote 50,000 words.
If it weren’t for NaNoWriMo, I wouldn’t have this blog.
You’ll have a different experience depending on your preferences and what kind of people are in your area. The people in my area are fantastic. We have write-ins at least twice a week during November and once a week outside of November. Even if you don’t go to all of them (I didn’t last year), everyone is still happy to see you. I’m also an introvert, so going out like that is a big thing for me.
NaNoWriMo isn’t only for novice writers. Randy Ingermanson talks about NaNoWriMo on his Advanced Fiction Writing blog. Simon Haynes, the mind behind yWriter and author of the Hal Spacejock series, participates in NaNo every year. Blair Hurley also used to participate, but she’s since said ‘no’ to NaNoWriMo.
NaNoWriMo isn’t for everyone. It works for me, but it might not for you. Regardless, I suggest you try it at least once. You don’t have to register and you don’t even have to write in November. Just pick a month you fancy and go into it with the goal of writing 50,000 words that month. You don’t have to participate in the community if you want to participate in the challenge. The reverse of that is also true.
Have you ever participated in NaNoWriMo? Even if you haven’t, what are your opinions of it? If you have participated, what was your experience like? If you plan to participate this year, what are you expectations of it?