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Friday, November 8, 2013

Advice from a NaNo WriMo loser.




It’s that time of the year again when we all hunker down with the leftover Halloween candy and sit in front of our computers typing away madly (and resisting the urge to hit backspace because it will take away from that coveted 50k word count).

And I have to ask, is it worth it?

I’ve participated in NaNo three times now, and I’ve never once made the 50k word goal. I don’t think that makes me a bad person for a pep talk though, so just hang around for a moment.

There are a few big reasons that I hear people not getting involved in NaNo. I’m here to refute them and tell you that you—oh person who lacks super powers and extra hours in a day—can do this.

Big excuse number one: No time.

No time to what? Write? If you want to be a writer, I’ve got to tell you something: Being a writer doesn’t work if you don’t write. There’s a solution for that. Write. Make time. Put down the candy crush, give up an hour of sleep, let the dishes sit for twenty more minutes—just do it.


Big excuse number two: Too much pressure.

Yes, I’ve heard this. NaNo is too much pressure? I hear you! That’s why I’ve decided I don’t care about the word count. I only care about renewing the vows of my habit to sit down six days a week and work on writing.

Through the year other things creep in—taking care of my family, cleaning my house, going to work, bringing work home (now that’s a whole ‘nother topic). And if we aren’t careful, all these things encroach on our writing. Stifle it.

If writing is important to you, make it a priority.

NaNo is an opportunity for me to stay active in the career path I want to take. It makes me sit down and do what I love. It makes me discipline myself so I use all of my time more wisely. And hey, they say doing something for twenty-one days makes it a habit. I want writing to be a habit.

Big excuse number three: I won’t win.

Well, let’s not whine about it.

I know, losing is hard. But does NaNo really have losers? I mean, it’s not like it’s a hockey game. This is writing. I “lost” NaNo twice. Both times my word counts were above 40k words.
Yeah! 40k words and new story ideas that I didn’t have a month prior. Did I finish those novels? Yup. Are they more than 50k words? Yup.

So, yeah, I lost. But I don’t care, because the prize I walked away with was worth it. What prize? There are prizes for losers? Yeah. You get what you put in. So I walked away with half a story written, better writing discipline, and because I didn’t let the pressure get to me, I walked away having had fun. That’s right. Fun. If you don’t have fun, you’re not participating effectively. Also, if you’re not working hard, you’re not participating effectively.

So get out there, have fun, work hard, and write! No more excuses. You can do this.
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