Monday, November 26, 2012

Why I Love National Novel Writing Month

Here we are at the last week of National Novel Writing Month and the big question looms: how's your word count? If you're falling behind (like me), take heart. We still have a good five days to catch up, and I suggest we grab those pens and/or open those Word files right now, or at least as soon as you finish reading this post!

On the other hand (and there always is another side to every story), you may have reached the point in your manuscript where you're thinking it doesn't matter whether you make it to the required 50K or not. You've done your best to write when you could during the month; you've made a great start to your story; and you got what you came for: inspiration. That's a good result too. It would still be nice if you could cross the finishing line, but there's more to Nanowrimo than just printing out your winner's certificate on 11/30. Some of my reasons for participating regardless of whether or not I win include:
  • Nanowrimo is an excellent break and time-out away from my regular schedule of editing and rewriting my current WIP.
  • It's a chance to re-discover and reconnect with my writer's soul.
  • I get a new book out of it!
  • It reminds me of why I do any of this: I can't wait to find out what happens next. And if I want to know, I have to write it.
  • I can turn it into a writer's retreat during what is usually a very hectic month and time of year.
  • It's a meditation.
  • It's a chance to practice a new genre or style I might not ordinarily explore.
  • I get to do some artwork. Whether it's a collage with my magazine cut-outs grouped together for writing prompts, or a drawing of one of my character's homes or ball gowns, it's all creative expression.
  • Nanowrimo is community. All those other writers in the same boat; it's the one time of year when we can seriously discuss our progress, problems, plans and ideas.
  • It's an opportunity to throw "publishing" and all it entails out the window. Yay!
  • It renews my writer's license: I can make left-hand turns! Parallel park! Reverse! Easy-peasy. So take THAT, Inner Critic!
No matter where you are in your manuscript this week--and many of you may have already reached your goal (my hearty congratulations to you)--the main thing to keep in mind is, you're a creative genius. The fact you signed up for Nanowrimo is the proof in the pudding. Now all you have to do is choose whether you want chocolate, butterscotch, or pistachio. And ... keep writing.

Tip of the Day: Five days, people. You can do a lot with that. If you're feeling a little blah about everything, here's an idea: get on over to and make yourself a digital collage that illustrates a scene in your story. I did that last week with the picture heading this post. The autumn leaves and violet earrings matched a section of Four Girls and Six Colleges perfectly and got my pen moving in the right direction--toward THE END.

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