ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Should You Do NaNoWriMo? Your Guide to Decide Whether Writing a Book This November is For You

Updated on December 27, 2015
Source

Are You Crazy? A Novel In a Month?

As November approaches every year, writers and aspiring writers around the globe are faced with a daunting question:

Do I have what it takes to write a complete novel in 30 days?

November, you see, is National Novel Writing Month, affectionately (or disdainfully) known by wordsmiths everywhere as NaNoWriMo. Originally conceived by 21 San Francisco-area authors in 1999, NaNoWriMo has grown into a phenomenon with more than 300,000 participants each year.

In 2014, 40,000 authors "won" the NaNoWriMo challenge, which means they produced "complete" novels of 50,000 or more words between November 1-30.

In this case, "complete" generally means that they cranked out a story with a beginning, middle, and end, but without necessarily doing any kind of editing.

Sound crazy?

Maybe, but NaNoWriMo is a challenge that can really open your eyes to the untapped potential buried under the mounds of excuses you keep piled up in your mind.

Is NaNoWriMo right for you?

Let's find out.

Source

Who Should Do NaNoWriMo?

Have you always wanted to write a novel but just haven't found the time or motivation to get started?

Do you have lots of great ideas for stories or books but find yourself too busy to write down your plot lines, let alone spit out an entire novel?

Or are you the type who often sits down to your keyboard, typewriter, or scratch pad to get started on your first or next book, only to gaze at the blank white screen for several minutes or hours before packing it in and surfing over to Facebook or your email account?

If you answered "yes" to any of these, then NaNoWriMo may be perfect for your situation, and here's why: NaNoWriMo gets you moving, with no room for excuses.

When you commit -- seriously COMMIT -- to writing 50,000 words in 30 days come Hell or high water or Thanksgiving, your life will change.

You will FIND time to write.

If that doesn't work, you will MAKE time to write, by scheduling it before you dedicate time to anything else.

Then, when you sit down for the 30 minutes that you've carved out of your Monday, maybe at 5 am just before the kids get up, you will write with an urgency that you've never had before.

You'll learn to start typing even when you're not sure what to write. While you type, your ideas will start to gel, and, before you know it, you will have pounded out 500 or 1000 or 1500 words.

What a way to start the day!

But, hey, if you're not looking for that kind of high, then maybe NaNoWriMo is not your cup of tea.

Source

Who Should NOT Do NaNoWriMo?

Aside from those who don't get geeked by their own high word counts, there are others who maybe should NOT participate in NaNoWriMo.

For instance, if you already write several thousand words per week and have written a novel or two in the last six months to a year, then NaNoWriMo may not offer as many benefits for you.

If you're an extremely productive writer, right now, then chances are good that you have a solid process in place for cranking out copious amounts of words and good stories.

In that case, it is at least possible that introducing the constraints of NaNoWriMo to your routine could disrupt the good flow you have going.

Of course, it's also entirely possible that NaNoWriMo will make you even more productive or at least give you the chance to break up your routine and try something different. The community that surrounds NaNoWriMo could also be a boon to your pile of ideas, and maybe even your career, if you can parlay new contacts into new opportunities.

Still, accomplished writers probably have less to gain from NaNoWriMo than the rest of us, and may even take a step backwards from a month-long foray into the fray.

Other people who might want to avoid NaNoWriMo -- non-writers, burned out writers, dead writers, people with no imagination, those afraid of hard work, anyone unwilling to change their routine, comatose writers, fictional -- not fiction -- writers, anyone who has been allotted less than the standard-issue 168-hour week.

Otherwise, it's hard to imagine why any author would outright avoid NaNoWriMo.

Source

Do You NEED NaNoWriMo?

Leaving aside the mundane idea of who should or should not do NaNoWriMo, and who might have the most to gain from the experience, let's make it a little more personal.

There are some of us in the writing world who need NaNoWriMo.

Seriously, NEED it.

Who are these writers?

These are the folks who perpetually refer to themselves as "aspiring writers."

They're the IT professionals or stay-at-home moms who have harbored a writing dream for the last decade or more but have buried it under their day-to-day doldrums.

They are the creative minds who feel guilty about taking time for something so "frivolous" as writing fiction.

They are, in short, anyone who fantasizes about being a writer but takes no action at all to make those aspirations a reality.

THESE writers need NaNoWriMo like no others.

No, they don't need NaNoWriMo like they need air or water or food. They won't die if they don't write a novel in November, or at least attempt to do so.

But their dreams WILL die, a little or a lot, if they don't do something to nourish them, and soon.

Setting and reaching goals, and feeding your deepest desires are critical to success as a human being, and writers who completely neglect their creative souls are courting personal disaster.

To channel Hemingway, they MUST begin to bleed on their keyboards before that creative blood stops flowing altogether.

It's later than any of us realizes.

What to Expect if You DO Do NaNoWriMo

So let's assume for the moment that you've decided to do NaNoWriMo -- you've found that you fit into the category of SHOULD do it, NEED to do it, or should NOT do it but want to tempt fate anyway.

What then? What's in store for you during November?

Everyone's experience will be slightly different, but here are some of the "joys" of NaNoWriMo that virtually every participant can expect:

  • At some point, you'll realize you need to write 1667 words every day in November.
  • Shortly thereafter, you'll realize that's a lot of words.
  • After a few days hitting your goal, that target may not seem so daunting ...
  • ... until you fall behind. Catching up is a bear.
  • Sometime during the month, you'll wish you had done more planning.
  • Some other time during the month (or maybe at the same time), you'll consider giving up.
  • Your story will unfold much differently than you expected it to.
  • Life will get in the way of NaNoWriMo.
  • Thanksgiving will get in the way of NaNoWriMo.
  • You'll feel great if you "win" NaNoWriMo.
  • You'll feel lousy if you give up early.
  • You will be stressed out.
  • You won't want to see your book again until at least the New Year.
  • Your first draft will be a hot mess.
  • You will vow never to do NaNoWriMo again.
  • You will come back next November.

There are plenty of authors and YouTubers who can give you a real flavor for what the NaNoWriMo experience is like, but one of the best is Katytastic. Her NaNoWriMo Survival video is below, and she offers up all kinds of book-related content on her channel.

No matter who you are or what your background, though, NaNoWriMo is sure to be an intense and difficult ride. That doesn't mean it's not worth the effort -- it just COULD be the nudge you need to finally start writing the way you want to.

Adam Hughes is an author from rural Indiana. He'll be spending November deep in a NaNoWriMo haze, using techniques from his guide to super-productive writing to "win" the challenge.

Are You Doing NaNoWriMo This November?

See results

About the Author

Adam Hughes is a writer and IT professional from central Indiana. Visit his website at AdamHughesWriter.com for free short stories and other writing tips, and to see what effect miles of corn fields can have on a man's fiction.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Adam Hughes profile imageAUTHOR

      Adam Hughes 

      2 years ago from Indiana

      In case anyone is interested, I'll be doing at least some light journaling of my NaNoWriMo 2015 experience on my website, starting here ...

      http://adamhugheswriter.com/2015/11/02/nanowrimo-2...

    • Adam Hughes profile imageAUTHOR

      Adam Hughes 

      2 years ago from Indiana

      Thanks for reading and the good wishes, Paola. Should be another fun November ride!

    • paolaenergya profile image

      Paola Bassanese 

      2 years ago from London

      Hi Adam

      I really enjoyed reading your article on NaNoWriMo and, by the way, congratulations on getting it featured on the Hubpages facebook page!

      Best of luck writing your novel, I have joined the challenge too so fingers crossed!

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 

      3 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      My poll answer is maybe. I have tried NaNoWriMo several times in past years but am a slow writer and never came close to the goal. This hub is an excellent introduction.

    • annasmom profile image

      annasmom 

      3 years ago

      This will be another attempt to finish novel that has been a work-in-progress for a couple of years...never make it past the second chapter, my inner editor is a beast! :)

    • Adam Hughes profile imageAUTHOR

      Adam Hughes 

      3 years ago from Indiana

      Cool, Suzie! Dare I ask how your "winning" percentage looks after four goes?

    • Suzie ONeill profile image

      Suzie ONeill 

      3 years ago from Lost in La La Land

      I love NaNoWriMo. I've been participating every November since 2011. :)

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)