Nanowrimo (NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth) is a time when writers across the world take 30 days to write at least 50,000 words. You have an online community to support you along this journey with many tips and forums on how to make it to the 50,000 word mark. Why this number? It’s approximately the length of The Great Gatsby.
Many people have criticized this method of encouraging would-be writers. I’ve heard all sorts of condemnations.
1- Not everyone is meant to be a writer- isn’t this just creating a lot of garbage writing into the world? There’s enough novels and novelists as it is!
It’s true that not everyone will be a writer. But for some people, like myself, find writing to be therapeutic. So regardless of whether you become a big-time published author, a small-time niche writer or someone whose manuscripts never see the light of day at least you had the chance to put yourself to the test. The worst thing that could happen is that you will learn something about yourself through the reflective process of writing as well as build up your stamina for writing longer pieces.
2- You can’t really write a quality piece in a month. It’s going to look sloppy.
True, but this would just be a first-draft. I’d be hard-pressed to publish something I wrote that quickly although that’s exactly what the 3-Day Novel Contest attempts to do and they seem to be a successful creative community.
3- No one cares about your novel.
That might be true. But then again, maybe someone will.
But let me share with you the #1 reason why I love Nanowrimo. It comes from observing my own novelist father over the years and how he has supported other potential writers. I have come across many people in my life who are naturally creative and full of great ideas. And more often than not, they always say a similar thing.
I’ve got a great idea for a novel or book.
You’ve got a great idea. Well that’s fantastic. I’ve got a great idea too. In fact, I’ve got hundreds of them! But what are you going to do about it? Where are you going to start?
The difference between someone who has the potential to be published and a person who has zero chance are pretty clear. The person who has the potential actually has written something of substantial length that they can show to a person. The person who has zero to little chance has nothing but enthusiasm and an idea.
So that’s why I love Nanowrimto. At the very least puts you to the test to see if you can actually make that novel come to fruition. If you have words on a page then you have a foundation you can continue to grow and build. You can criticize Nanowrimo all you want, but it has helped many best-selling novels get off the ground. And maybe one of them will be yours- or even mine!
Check out nanowrimo.org for more!