Thursday, November 29, 2012

Pfft, Who Cares About the Numbers (Or Why the NaNoWriMo Numbers Don't Always Matter)

With one day left in NaNoWriMo, I’ll admit that I made it barely over 15k words this year (well below my normal). Yes, it sucks and I could throw you all the excuses and let you juggle them. Between school responsibilities, craft shows, and family matters not one of you would blame me. That does not matter. I can even say that finishing doesn’t always matter. Though some women may beg to differ.

Here are five reasons why:

Habit Forming.
 If you learn nothing from NaNoWriMo, but one thing, this is the one thing you should learn: Writing must become habitual to become not only better, but hopefully even professional. The 50k in a month sets one goal for the month and then daily goals of approximately 1667 words per day. This is the perfect tool to make writing habitual since studies show that it takes 30 days to create a habit. If you’re serious about writing, obviously you need to write every day to help improve it and NaNoWriMo helps you form that habit.

Creating Contacts.
As writers, we may not be alone, but we definitely feel it some days. During November we get the chance to join weekly writing groups (which sometimes expand to year round), make friends over the message board, and find people we trust to either write with or proof read our work. Sometimes these friends even end up with jobs or their own contacts that could further our writing goals. These contacts could not only help end our writing solitude, but help expand our professional ties as well.

The Deals.
Sure, some deals are only for the 50k winners, but some deals are for every one. You can discounts on software, self publishing, and even some chances for professional publishing that only participants can get. Admittedly, 25-50% self publishing and software  is really worth the work of NaNoWriMo.

The Challenge.

Sometimes we just need a challenge, but creating our own challenges are not always easy. Especially if we are alone in this challenge. With the NaNoWriMo challenge, we work with thousands of others which gives us more drive to meet the challenge. We know that other people are suffering and working and pushing forward like we are. This camaraderie is hard to find and once a year (or twice if you do Script Frenzy), we get to have it and rejoice in it.

The Resources.
The whole month of NaNoWriMo, we find writing prompts, a twitter feed full of writing sprints and mini-challenges, and famous authors giving us pep talks. These don’t go away suddenly after November ends. They don’t just delete the twitter account or remove all bits of pep talks. No, instead the twitter remains available to go on and re-use the mini-challenges that we missed during the month (since the twitter runs 24/7). And best of all, the pep talks get put into an archive that we have access to all year round.

Let’s face it, there’s plenty of different reasons that NaNoWriMo is good for us writers. You own reason might be something silly or even something much more serious, but in the long run, any reason is a good one to help better yourself and your writing.

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