THE TRUTH ABOUT NANOWRIMO

1:29 PM
nanowrimo truth vs expectation
It's November 1 and across the world, writers are eagerly digging into the incredible challenge that is NATIONAL NOVEL WRITING MONTH.

NaNoWriMo is all about unlocking the story inside you. It's heralded as a 'Write A Novel In A Month' month, but that's not really true. Because it's not about writing a novel—not really. It's about finding a story, spilling it out for thirty days, after which you hopefully want to clean up the mess and make something good of it.

NaNoWriMo is about self-discovery: Can you do it? Do you love writing enough? Do you really want it? Do you actually have anything to say under the gun?


Expectation: You think your life will continue in a normal fashion. 1667 daily words will only take an hour or two and you think you can bang those out without interfering in your family's daily routine.

Reality: Ha! Sure, some days you might speed through your word-count BUT other days your words will come ssslllooowwwlllyyy. Almost everything else will become less of a priority—the dishes, the laundry, dinner, bathing your children...

Expectation: You think it won't be that hard.

Reality: Ha! It will be excruciating and you'll want to quit at least once every day.

Expectation: You think people will care.

Reality: Ha! People won't care. They might be mildly curious. They might tip their head to the side like they're talking to a widow and say, "Aw...good for you!" They'll only really care when your obsessive writing interferes with their regular life.

Expectation: On November 30, you will submit your words to the NaNoWriMo official word-counter, receive your celebratory email and certificate from the NaNoWriMo offices and have a shiny new novel ready to send to a publisher.

Reality: Ha! On November 30, you will submit your words to the NaNoWriMo official word-counter, receive your celebratory email and certificate from the NaNoWriMo offices and have a stinking pile of goodness-knows-what to wade through and mine for goods.

NaNoWriMo is about the beginning. It is not about the end. It's about the journey, not the destination. It's the tool that will put you on the road towards a novel and it's a journey worth taking if you've got the guts.

It's about writing. It's not about good writing. It's not about perfect writing. It's about 30 days without a delete key. It's about a first draft. It's about vomiting out ideas and cleaning up the stink later. Don't feel like writing? Doesn't matter—do it anyway! Your first run at a story doesn't have to be flawless but it does have to be written. Write when writing is the last thing you want to do. Write when all you want to be doing is writing. Write when you feel it come easy. Write when every word comes with the pain of a thirty hour labour. Just write. Don't delete. Don't read. Just write.

There's no time to be afraid!

So much energy can be wasted on thinking you're not good enough, your ideas aren't original, or your characters have stupid names...It doesn't matter! Just get it out! If you spend November scared of what you're writing you'll never meet your goal. Set aside inhibitions and go all in. When you ignore your fears and you allow the pressure to propel you forward things will be pulled from you and into your story that you would have never found moseying along on your tiptoes. Be bold. Be brave. This is only about you and the story you have inside you—a story you probably won't even know until you read it back to yourself some time in December.

No matter what NaNoWriMo brings out of you, remember that the most important thing is showing up. Just write. And whenever you're ready, ARP would love to come along side you and help turn your novel into something that belongs on a bookstore shelf! 

(Check out The Church In The Wildwood, a novel drafted during NaNoWriMo 2014)

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