Why NaNoWriMo is Good for You

In a matter of hours, National Novel Writing Month 2017 begins.  Feel the pressure yet? The excitement?  The judgment and criticism?

After all, why bother?  

This is the holiday season.  The clock strikes midnight on Halloween and the NaNoWriMo ticker starts ticking.  In 23 days, it will be Thanksgiving. 

And it's year-end, business-wise.  There are deadlines to meet.  Procrastinating clients will call in a frantic need for something yesterday. Happens every year.

So, is it nuts to add the goal of writing 1700 words each day for 30 days into the mix?  Am I crazy for doing this?

Well, sure, maybe. 

What I Get Out of NaNoWriMo

Here's the thing.  I don't dedicate my Novembers to NaNoWriMo because I'm planning on writing the Great American Novel in one month's time. 

I'm doing it for several other reasons, ones that I think help me and may help you, too, Dear Reader should you decide to join in the fun.  Things like:

  • It helps my self-discipline.  I keep to a schedule during the holiday season. 
  • It spurs my imagination.  Each morning, there is a fun and safe invitation to dream and fantasize all sorts of things.  Dogs that can talk; pink skies; mysterious passageways ....  And I can put them into plots, not just leave them in my daydreams.
  • It helps me see how much and how fast I can write.  As the chapters build, there is a sense of accomplishment.  Of doing something just for me.  Just. For. Me.
  • It helps me build a story without worrying about vocabulary, dialogue, setting.  I fly though the day's word count getting the story down for that day.  It's freeing.  I'm a storyteller and I'm not sure what's going to happen the next day. 
  • Finally, it keeps the Judgmental Bear away.  Oh, how I love to criticize myself!  Here, I know that I'm writing a bad novel.  It's supposed to be bad.  To make sure I keep this in mind, I do things like start each year's epic with the same sentence:  "On a dark and stormy night ...."
  • It's creative.  I draw maps of the village, I cut out photos of watches or cars or recipes or cats that fit with my storyline.  I collect them with disc-binding into this fun, zany scrapbook slash art journal.  They go alongside my words, which I hand-wrote last year and plan on doing again this year.  This disc-bound book gets big.  It's magical.  I add washi tape and vintage postcards and lace.  Done right, it needs a big fat ribbon to hold itself together.  I love this.
  • Bottom line, it's fun.  NaNoWriMo is fun.  And I need all the fun I can get these days, don't you?

For more, check out:

"Fast-Draft Writing for NaNoWriMo and Every Other Month," posted on September 19, 2017 by Writing Coach;
and all the NaNoWriMo online Pep Talks by writers like Dean Koontz, John Green, Sue Grafton, Tom Robbins, Meg Cabot and many more .

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