The Way to Win NaNoWriMo – Guaranteed

From Writer Unboxed:

Welcome to the first day of National Novel Writing Month, or as it’s generally abbreviated, NaNoWriMo! While I’m not signing up for NaNo this year, I’ve done it a number of times in the past, often “winning” in the way winning is defined by the NaNoWriMo organization: writing 50,000 words of a new project from scratch in just 30 days.

Given the timing of my post this month, I felt like writing about NaNo was almost a no-brainer, but one thing held me back: I wasn’t sure there was anything new to say. So I checked in with fellow writers on Facebook. Before long, it was obvious from the volume of comments that there’s plenty of interest in the topic! And I started to see a pattern as authors and other friends were quick to share their NaNo thoughts and experiences:

“Someone attempting NaNo might want to go into it with certain questions in mind, like ‘Does writing every day actually work for me?’ or ‘Do daily word count goals help or hinder me?’ or even more broadly, ‘What is this experience teaching me about myself/my writing process?’ I did straight NaNo last year for the first time ever and won (as in, started a brand-new draft on November 1st and finished it by the end of the month) and just felt like I learned so much about myself as a writer and about my process, which was really valuable.” – Alyssa Palombo, author of Heavy Metal Symphony and The Borgia Confessions

“I’ve never written a novel in 30 days (as if!) but I did do NaNoWriMo to write 500-1000 words a day of my then-WIP and it really got me over a hump.” – Kathleen McCleary, author of Leaving Haven and two other novels

“I think it’s important to stress not beating yourself up if you fall short. There is a lot to be learned about process with this event; it can be valuable in other ways besides word count.” – Elisabeth Carson-Williams

“I am a total fan of bending the event to work for the individual.” – Aimie K. Runyan, bestselling author of Across the Winding River and Daughters of the Night Sky

What do all these perspectives have in common?

Redefining the concept of what it means to “win” NaNo.

Maybe you win by writing 50,000 words in 30 days. Maybe you win by setting a goal for yourself of writing every day whether you feel like it or not, and see whether that produces better results than your previous practice. Maybe you dig a half-completed project out of a drawer and aim for NaNo’s brisk pace of 1,667 words a day – and either bring that project back to life or realize that more effort isn’t going to get it where you need it to be and abandon it, and either way, you now know something you didn’t know before. 

Link to the rest at Writer Unboxed