Whenever I tell anyone about NaNoWriMo, these are the most common responses I get:
“If there’s more than one winner, why do you do it?”
“Why can’t you just write it without the website?”
“Technically, any of those people could type “a a a a a” and enter their novel to win.”
“If no one is going to read it, why do you even bother?”
Many of the responses are leaning towards the negative side of things, and maybe that’s because people are unsure of what NaNoWriMo actually is and what it actually means for writers. It is free to do, so it’s not like they’re ripping me off or anything. But, why bother?
Let me tell you why I bother.
I participate in National Novel Writing Month because it encourages everyone to write – not just writers. It gives people all over the world an opportunity to connect over something so compelling and personal, as writing often is. NaNoWriMo is about encouraging writers to write that novel that they have kicking around in the back of their mind but haven’t written yet, but it also encourages those who do not write to give it a try.
I participate in NaNoWriMo because it is a great community, and I’ve met many people from around the world who share the same loves that I have. It’s a wonderful way to connect with like-minded individuals over the common ground of writing. I love visiting the forums because most everyone is there for the same reasons, and that makes for a great atmosphere.
I participate in NaNoWriMo because it means so much more than writing for me. There is an insurmountable sense of achievement if you can write the 50,000 words in a month…and an even better feeling if they are not all compete garbage when you edit in December. More than this, though, it’s great to meet other people who you can rely on for an honest opinion throughout the month. Most of my friends probably wouldn’t read any of my writing unless I got published. I know, though, that I can offer a piece of writing, or an idea, to nearly anyone I’ve met through NaNo and they will give me an honest opinion and help me to develop an idea, or just be interested in hearing what I’m writing about.
I participate in NaNoWriMo because it encourages me to write in a way I don’t normally do. I leave the editing aside and just sit down and write. Without the 50,000 word deadline I would take my time and re-word things, often going back to edit. The deadline, though, forces a writer to forget all of that and just write their novel. It comes out so fast sometimes, you don’t even realize how much you’ve actually written until you stop and take a break. It also encourages creativity, as you sometimes have to think quick to figure out what is going to happen next, and I find my best works are my NaNoWriMo novels.
The Office Of Letters And Light – the non-profit organization that runs NaNoWriMo, ScriptFrenzy and Camp NaNoWriMo – do a lot for writers around the world, as well. They run young writers programs and they even provide writing materials to schools, children and people in places where they can’t afford it. It is such a wonderful program, and I participate in NaNoWriMo to be a part of it. This is why I try to donate a little bit every year to NaNoWriMo because the amazing website is free and it fuels 30 days of fun for myself and hundreds of thousands of other writers around the world.
This is why NaNoWriMo is about more than just writing. It’s about building a community of friends and writers around the world, and providing writers of all ages a safe, inspiring, educational and entertaining place to hang out for November. There’s a kind of magic you feel when you realize you are one of 300,000 other writers around the world attempting this crazy challenge.
On top of that, if you win, you get bragging rights to say you wrote a novel in a month. I am proud of having accomplished this six times – the first when I was 13 years old. Also when you win, you get access to really cool web badges and a downloadable winner’s certificate. Yes, these are what I’ve been shamelessly showing off this whole post.
This – all of what I’ve said – is what NaNoWriMo means to me, and that is why I bother.
- NaNoWriMo Day 12 – The Good, The Bad and The Unwritten (allmeanssomething.wordpress.com)
- Why NaNoWriMo Is Like Christmas (allmeanssomething.wordpress.com)
- NaNoWriMo – In the Middle (lastchancewriting.wordpress.com)
- NaNoWriMo Tip #14: Scrivener (writingishardwork.com)
- NaNoWriMo #3 (sandiessnippets.wordpress.com)
- Get The Perfect Gear for Your Nanowrimo Adventure! (stine1.info)