Well, it’s almost the end of November (crazy right?) and I bet you’ve heard the word NaNoWriMo. That means it’s National Novel Writing Month.
The participants of NaNoWriMo attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in thirty days. To keep up with this challenge, writers have to write a minimum of 1,667 words a day. Does that sound absolutely crazy? Yeah, it kinda is.
Most participants during this time of the month are extremely stressed. It’s the last stretch, there is only a little over a week to finish and the holidays are fast approaching. How are you going to get 1,667 words down with a whole turkey to cook or a plane to catch? November is stressful.
It’s okay, you don’t have to do NaNo to write your novel.
Sure, NaNo helps you get your motivation up but there are eleven other months in the year to complete a novel. With that in mind, I decided to start a novel but not in November and not for NaNoWriMo.
These are my five reasons why.
- Writing a Novel is Stressful Enough
Completing 50,000 words is no easy challenge. Some days are going to be good and some days are going to be bad. Things come up and maybe you can’t get to the keyboard that day. Now instead of 1,667 words you need 3,334 words. I’m not sure how long your chapters run but in my case that is an entire chapter in a day. Are you stressed just thinking about that? I know I am.
- Speed and Plotting
Are you a plotter or a pantser? The difference between the two is that the plotter has each chapter planned out ahead of time. Everything is in a nice package to get the novel going. This takes time to get a plot down before NaNoWriMo starts. So, that means planning ahead in October.
The opposite of a plotter is a pantser. A pantser is someone who goes through the story by the seat of their pants. They let the story come to them as they write. Usually for me, I have a loose ending in mind. Maybe, at most, I plan three chapters ahead of time. Trying to do this in thirty days as a self proclaimed pantser would not get my best story story out.
- Sharing With a Beta Reader
What is a beta reader? A beta reader is someone who reads your story before you share it with the masses. Having someone that I can share my work with is extremely important to me and I’m so lucky to be able to have friends that I can share my work with. It also helps me get feedback. My beta reader lets me know if my plot is working, help with spelling mistakes, and help with grammar mistakes. If I wrote an entire novel in thirty days, it would be almost impossible to get feedback on my novel the way I am getting it now.
- Setting Your Own Schedule
It’s important to have schedules and deadlines. That’s what NaNoWriMo does best. It gives you a timeline on when to start, when to finish, and how many words should be written in a day. Then, it also gives you a community that you can participate in. Everything here is a recipe for success but what if you have your own schedule?
So, the schedule you have has been working for you for months. Now it’s going to crash and burn, leaving you with it’s charred embers. I’m here to say that you don’t have to fix what isn’t broken. If what you’re doing is working for you, keep at it.
5. It’s the Most Stressful Time of the Year
This isn’t just any month, it’s November. The time of year right before the holidays when students are studying for tests. It’s the time of year when you’re getting ready for your family to come over on vacation. Maybe, you are the one that’s flying out on vacation. Either way, this is a busy time. Once Halloween ends, forget remembering the rest of the year. How can you get your best writing done with such a tight schedule? Are you going to try and sacrifice the quality for the quantity of words? Can you really say you’re writing your best right now?
NaNoWriMo is a very spectacular challenge. Writing a novel is no easy task. It takes a lot of time, dedication, and will power. To everyone that is working on NaNoWriMo right now, I wish you the best. NaNoWriMo really does help you build up to success even if it’s challenging.
Now for those that didn’t do NaNoWriMo this year, it’s okay that you didn’t. I chose not to participate in it and I’m happy with the decision. It’s perfectly fine to have your own schedule to write your novel. Even if your novel isn’t going to be done in a month, keep working at your own pace. Writing a novel isn’t a race. The whole goal is to finish no matter how you started.
Speaking of writing a novel, the next chapter of Catching Time will be up on December 4th! Also, check out my Medium where this blog was originally posted.