National Novel Writing Month came from an American non-profit organisation, NaNoWriMo, incorporated in 2006. Their purpose is to encourage creativity and community, in a month-long challenge to write a novel, or 50,000 words.
Since its inception, NaNoWriMo has grown to include online and in-person communities around the world. Each November, thousands of writers join in the challenge, connect with each other, and cheer each other on.
Personally, I have never ‘won’ a NaNoWriMo. I once wrote 30,000 words… but that was enough for me. I found that hurrying to meet word targets didn’t meet story targets. That I was pushing myself too hard to meet word deadlines when what I needed was to work to plot deadlines instead.
That’s not to say word targets aren’t useful; they are. Especially if you are someone who can use skeleton outlines to plan approximately how many words ‘should’ be in each section of your book – for pacing purposes. However, I tend to write organically for my first draft, returning to analyse and section with word evaluation later.
If, however, you are one of the fantastic and driven writers who is participating in NaNoWriMo, I wish you lots of luck and good words. Have fun, and work to your own plan. It doesn’t matter if you ‘win’ this season… what matters is getting something down. You don’t need to compare yourself to others when creativity is individual.
Happy writing, all!
This month’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group is brought to you by co-hosts Diedre Knight, Douglas Thomas Greening, Nick Wilford, and Diane Burton. Do check out their blogs, along with the IWSG blog hop list for other writers’ thoughts on NaNoWriMo and all things neurotic writing-related.