My first week in NaNoWriMo is nearly over, and it’s been a lot of fun. Already I’ve turned out over 8,000 words – a good week for me, though still slightly behind the pace I’ll need to hit 50,000. Even so, my current novel project is coming along nicely.
National Novel Writing Month offers more than just the drive to reach 50,000 words in November. There are powerful motivational and community aspects to it as well, including:
- Local and national forums. These discussion boards serve as a place for writers to encourage one another, vent, and even share snippets of prose as they’re plodding along. Take care, though… words in the forums don’t count toward the total!
- Pep talks. Another thing the Office of Letters and Light does very well is line up pep talks from successful authors. Few things are greater motivation than getting a personal message of encouragement from one of your idols.
- Widgets and gadgets. There’s a whole page of different embeddable widgets to track one’s progress, wage “word wars” with friends, and generally keep motivated. These get better every year.
- Prizes for the winners. If you can reach the 50,000 word mark by November 30th, you’re a “winner” of NaNoWriMo. There’s no other requirement, and no limit on those who can win. Even so, it’s usually around 15% of participants who make it to the end, where they can collect prizes like credits at Amazon CreateSpace, discounts on Scrivener and other writing software, etc.
Week One is Fun
The first week of NaNoWriMo is always the easiest. Ideas are fresh. Authors tend to have showered and are well-fed. Spouses and family members have not yet staged an active revolt and started chanting, “NaNo No Mo!” There are never more active participants than in week one, and the word counts simply skyrocket. It’s fun to watch.
The ensuing weeks won’t be as pretty. People start to fall behind. Fingers cramp. Cats and children physically insert themselves between the writer and his keyboard. Only the strongest of us — or perhaps the ones with the most forgiving friends/families/co-workers — will truck through to the end. Wish me luck!
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