October is ending, and with it the Inktober challenge I did on Instagram. Head here to check out the drawings I did throughout the month.
Now that November is just around the corner, that means the start of the National Novel Writing Month. Or NaNoWriMo.
If you are unfamiliar with this project, it’s a pledge to write a 50,000 word novel by the end of November. Thousands of novelists, published or not, sign up to try and complete this task.
Impossible, you say?
Daunting yes, impossible, no.
Only for those who are brimming with ideas and have 50,000 words already in their heads?
In fact, those kinds of writers have no problem going on writing sprints and getting down their novels quickly. They aren’t challenged by NaNo.
The writers that NaNo helps the most, are those that suffer from writer’s block. Or the ‘white rabbit’ syndrome where they chase new ideas down rabbit holes and get lost in a wonderland of many unfinished drafts.
That’s right. NaNo is the most beneficial for those of us who look at 50k and think “that’s never going to happen”. Because, see, that’s the purpose of the challenge.
NaNo is a month where you have to force yourself to sit, and just write.
The beauty of this challenge is that it’s all about the word count.
Writer’s block almost always stems from the worry that your writing won’t be good enough. The white rabbit syndrome is caused by the same worry.
That project I’m working on? I’ll never get it up to par. I can’t write the ending it needs. I don’t know how to write this scene perfectly. This plot is going nowhere anymore. Anything I write is just not going to cut it. I just read a fantastic novel. I can’t write like that.
Here’s the secret of writing: The first draft is never perfect.
It doesn’t have to be. It isn’t expected to be.
Doubting yourself as a writer? The only way to get better is to practice!
That author you just read and marvelled at has likely spent many many hours glued to their computer or notepad, struggling over a specific scene, getting frustrated with one of their characters, or chasing loose plot threads into the abyss. We’ve all gone through it, and it’s an uphill climb so you can’t expect to stand still and get anywhere.
NaNo creates a free space where it’s all about the word count. You’re allowed to write crap. Crap can be fixed later. The only way to fix a blank page is to fill it.
This is why NaNo is a great challenge to be a part of. It gives you incentive to sit down, and just write words. Doesn’t matter how good they are, how absolutely brilliant your prose is. That’s what editing is for.
NaNo forces you to get into the practice of just writing. (a revolutionary concept, I know)
This is a crucial step for new novelists to get over. Most people I talk to will tell me that they’d love to write a novel, they can just never seem to finish one. They always ask how on earth I manage it.
Well here it is. I sit down and force myself to write.
What a better way to get into this practice than within an environment like NaNo where you are joining thousands of writers across the globe in the struggle, with many resources for support, community, advice, and encouragement at your fingertips?
And hey, you might just get a novel out of it.
So go out there. You may have no idea where you’re going with your idea (like me) or you might not even have one, or you maybe have a fully fledged idea just bubbling up in you. No matter how inspired you are, what gets you to a ‘The End’ is hard work and determination to finish.
Sign up for NaNoWriMo here and join me in the challenge.