What is NaNoWriMo? In case you didn’t know, it’s National Novel Writing Month. Every November, thousands of crazy eager folks decide to crank out an entire novel in just one month. The goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days.
It’s a fun challenge, and gets people excited about writing. Even if you don’t “win” it by hitting the 50,000 word mark, it’s still worthwhile to participate to challenge yourself, team up with accountability partners, meet other writers, and try something new.
But what if you’ve decided not to participate? Believe it or not, there are a lot of writers out there who don’t do NaNoWriMo – or at least don’t do it every year. So what can you do this November if you’re not trying to crank out a NaNoWriMo novel?
Don’t Feel Guilty
Writers should always encourage each other. This writing thing is hard enough with the lonely hours, writers’ block, and self-doubt, without us tearing each other down. So if anyone gives you a hard time for not participating in NaNoWriMo, just ignore them and keep on truckin’. Everyone has their own personal reasons for participating in this event, and those who don’t participate have their own equally unique and equally valid reasons for not doing so. NaNoWriMo is a fun bandwagon, but never let yourself feel guilty or ashamed for not jumping on.
Set a Different Writing Goal
NaNo is all about goals. The ultimate goal is 50K words in a month, and that comes out to approximately 1,667 words per day or 12,500 words per week. That’s one of the benefits of NaNo – it gives writers a concrete goal and deadline to shoot for.
But you might have some different writing goals. For example, a professional author with a book contract can’t just take a month off to write a new first draft if she’s got a deadline to turn in a revised manuscript to her editor. Maybe you’re not a professional author with a contract and a deadline (yet), but you might still have a different goal that is not compatible with NaNo’s deadline.
And if you don’t have a goal but you still don’t want to do NaNo, then set yourself a goal. Shoot for writing one short story during the month of November, or two poems, or finishing that novella you started a year ago. Any goal that you set is valid if you’re working towards it.
Just Write Something
NaNo is also all about writing. For one month out of the year, even those who don’t consider themselves to be “writers” get excited about writing. You should, too! Write some songs, start a journal, write one more chapter, post a blog. Just write!
Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? Why or why not?