It’s that time of the year again – knit is back in fashion, pumpkin spice is making its annual comeback, and a cohort of writers embarks on a typing marathon.
November always brings a crazy, cosy atmosphere. It’s the month before Christmas, but also the month of uni deadlines. It’s a mix of excitement for the holidays and Christmas shopping, and late-night essay writing sessions, caffeine-induced nightmares where the university shrinks to the size of a pea and I can’t hand my assignments in because they don’t fit through the door…
So why would any sane person add to that the challenge of writing 50k in 30 days? Well, why not?
I’ve always enjoyed pushing myself, seeing how much I can actually accomplish if I put my mind to it. Sure, I’ve never actually won NaNo, but that’s no measure for success (in my opinion).
I think the point of National Novel Writing Month is more than reaching the word count. It’s comradery, commitment and the rush of adrenaline you get on November 1st, on the stroke of midnight. It’s watching countless NaNoWriMo bullet journal videos on YouTube but never actually making one of your own. Or making one and not sticking to it. It’s making a detailed outline and not sticking to it, or going in blind and discovering a meaningful world which you never knew existed.
I really want to stress this: DON’T WORRY ABOUT THE WORD COUNT, JUST HAVE FUN!
Whenever I think about word counts I get a sort of stage fright, and I am unable to write anything. I’m scared my ideas are too big, or too insignificant. And that’s not a good way to go about it.
This exercise is supposed to free creativity and provide a space where writers with a wide range of skills and experience can come together, kind of like they would in a pub or at a festival, and do what they do best – get inspired, create, write.
I also believe NaNoWriMo strives to teach us, writers, a few things:
– How to show up, be accountable. I am not the type of writer who sits down every day to perform my craft. I know I show, and I want to, but sometimes life’s daily inconveniences and responsibilities offer me the perfect excuse to not do it.
– How to seek help, collaborate. Writing is mostly a solitary excursion. But every once in a while we have to come up for air, ask for help when we are struggling, and join forces to create something even better.
-Give yourself permission to make mistakes. Writing to the NaNoWriMo daily word average (1,667) is not easy. It forces you to stop nitpicking and allow mistakes to happen. You can always edit later.
November is less than two weeks away, but there is still time to join the movement!
Happy Writing! xx