by guest blogger Elizabeth Chatsworth
Everyone has at least one novel inside them. National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is an annual online event that supports anyone who wishes to start writing that novel.
The premise is simple. You sign up for free at http://nanowrimo.org/. Your only commitment is to attempt to write 50,000 words between November 1st and 30th, which averages to about 1,666 words per day. From that point on, you are in total control of how you approach the task. The NaNoWriMo website enables you to track your daily wordcount, set timed writing challenges, read inspirational articles and participate in the lively forums.
The best part of NaNoWriMo is the supportive community. You are joining over 400,000 writers worldwide who have made the commitment to write the first draft of a novel in thirty days. You can meet your fellow participants in person via local Write-In events at libraries, bookshops and schools, or through social media using the hashtag #NaNoWriMo.
I have taken part in NaNoWriMo for the last two years, and I’ve seen my friends and I achieve more than we ever thought was possible in only thirty days. Here are my top takeaways:
- Signing up for the event is, in itself, a victory. You are committing to creating something that no-one else can – your own story.
- Tell your friends and family of your writing pledge. They may be more supportive than you can imagine, and might even join you on the journey.
- You can use the challenge as an excuse to set up your own dedicated writing space.
- Your real goal is to start writing and keep going despite everyday distractions.
- Working to a deadline forces you to write through self-doubt, writer’s block and your inner critic.
- Every word counts – no deleting! Revision doesn’t begin until after the challenge.
- It takes creative stamina to write for thirty days straight. You’ll become a stronger writer for the experience.
- If your finished novel goes into a drawer and never sees the light of day – so be it. You will still be a novelist!
Elizabeth Chatsworth is a British voice actor (SAG-AFTRA) and writer. She lives in Connecticut with her husband and their rambunctious Yorkshire Terrier, Boudicca (Boo).