Friday, 24 October 2014

Why NaNo is great... but why I'm not doing it.

I wrote last year about the many reasons why I wasn't doing NaNo then and why it didn't work for me anymore. Those points still stand for this year. But as it's once again October and everyone starts talking about it again, I thought that I would expand on that post slightly, and write again about why I'm not NaNoing, but why I think it's a very useful exercise to do.

The thing about NaNo is that it is great for both getting first drafts down (and first drafts only), first time writers, and people who just want to write something once a year. It is a great motivation - I find that the deadline fear pushes me on, and it is a great tool to get you writing every day. After doing NaNo for seven years, the routine and feeling that you must write something every day (not necessarily 1667 words but something) has stuck with me and proved to be an important part of motivating me. I like to write something every day, and thanks to NaNo I do.

The other great thing about NaNo is that it proves to you that you CAN do it. That it is possible to write a draft of a novel. It is a great way to finish something and realise that you can do it. Rather than just starting things all the time and never finishing. I remember when I first did it, when I was seventeen (I think?), the realisation that I could finish something that was a story, a complete story, "a novel" and not a fanfic story (because I made a rule to myself never to write fanfic for NaNo) was a revelation. I didn't have to keep thinking one day, because it happened, and it was marvellous. I am always thankful to one of my school friends for telling me about NaNo - it changed the way I thought about writing!

However, I'm working on so many different things at the moment that I don't see the point of committing, and I do not think that I have ever seriously gone back to a NaNo project and edited it.  And for that reason it seems like a futile exercise.

Reasons NaNo IS a good thing to do:
1. for first time writers,
2. for getting words down on the page,
3. for getting into a routine,
4. FOR FINISHING something,
5. and for knowing that YOU can do it.

Things to remember about NaNo:
1. It produces a first draft. Not a novel. It doesn't have to be perfect. It won't be perfect.
2. Don't send your draft to agents/publishers, it will need a lot of work.
3. Put it away after it's over for a while.
4. Don't worry about perfection or plans or what you're writing. Just write because you want to and you love the story.
5. It doesn't work for everyone.
6. Enjoy it!

Who's doing NaNo this year? Any thoughts/tips to add?

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