I’ve mentioned quite a few times that I like to procrastinate. I really do, and without deadlines I procrastinate even more.
This is why I love NaNoWriMo.
NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and happens once a year in November. The goal is simple: write 50,000 words in 30 days (about 1667 a day). There are also two similar events in April and July but without the 50,000 words rule.
I always participate. It’s a deadline, albeit a fake one. I just don’t work well without pressure and this is why I attempt to pressure myself whenever I can.
I’m the student who started writing her papers 48 hours before the deadline and stayed up all night cramming an 800 page book before an exam.
Not everyone is a fan of NaNoWriMo and not everyone is a fan of writing a thousand words every day, which I’m still doing. And I can understand that. It’s not helpful to sit down with a fever or a headache or if you’re simply tired after an exhausting day and are writing down words just for the sake of writing down words.
In fact I skipped my thousand words a day twice this year: once with a fever and once on my birthday. My goals are to improve my writing, create a habit, and develop strong writing muscles.
I wouldn’t have improved on those two days. I’d probably have written down nonsense just to be able to go to bed. And that’s not what this writing thing is about.
This is why NaNoWriMo is not for everyone.
NaNoWriMo is the permission to write crap. My thousand words a day is my permission to write crap every single day.
I have to. I used to stare at white spaces on notebooks, phones and computers… just stare. Every sentence I wrote wasn’t good enough to publish, so I would delete them. Every paragraph was uninspired and bland. Deleted. I’d go to bed with as much white space left on the page as I started with.
NaNoWriMo is the permission to write a story–an entire story, from beginning to end. It does not matter if it’s any good or if the chosen words are the right words. Everything wrong can be fixed during the editing process. Editing is hard work, sure, but you can’t edit without first having a story.
I needed, and still need, that permission to write crap. Because once I’ve written something, I can fix it later. But if I don’t allow myself the freedom to create without judgement, the white space will never be filled.
NaNoWriMo kills the fear for me, and the deadline (the end of the month) is what motivates and pressures me.
If you like to edit as you write or if you like to work slower and finish with a cleaner first draft than you would after 30 days of frantic writing, then no, it’s probably not for you. If 1667 words a day is too much, then it may not be for you either and that’s fine.
But if fear of failure, procrastination and other shiny things keep you from writing then maybe it’s worth a try.
April and July are the Camp NaNoWriMo months and I’m currently trying to write the first draft of something new. Hopefully I can knock it out in 30 days and win this thing for virtual internet points and a badge. I like badges.
Are you a NaNoWriMoer? How do you motivate yourself? Do you need a deadline? Or can you just write? Let me know in the comments.
See you next week,