Can you believe that November is nearly here? To be absolutely cliché I ask you, where has the year gone? Here in the States it’s almost Halloween, though some stores already have their Christmas displays up as if Thanksgiving and Hanukkah don’t exist. It’s a busty time for a lot of people. November gets to be an extra busy time for many authors with National Novel Writing Month, which is a challenge to write a whole novel in 30 days.
Every year I have dreams of doing National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo or NaNo). I even managed to win in 2018 when I wrote Blood of the True Believer for the challenge. I love the support, the kinship with other participants, and the challenge. What I didn’t love was the burnout after. When I “won” NaNo, I fell off of the plane of writing for months, and didn’t look at the manuscript for Blood of the True Believer for just as long. I pushed myself to write at least 1200 words a day, and I succeeded, but at what cost?
Many, many people find NaNo to be a great tool to finishing their current project, or even to give that lifelong dream of writing a novel a go! I am definitely not against NaNoWriMo as a concept or even a practice. After all, I wouldn’t have written my sequel without the motivation. What I am saying—what I hope you take away—is that it’s not for everyone, and you should not feel like you are less an author if you decide that is the case for you. Perhaps you could even use NaNo as a chance to challenge yourself in other ways, like talking about your project on Instagram every day for 30 days, or just making it a goal to write every day, even if it’s a thousand, a hundred, or ten words.
J.M. Lasley has a lovely post about the pros and cons of NaNo going up on her blog today. I recommend weighing the costs against the benefits, and deciding if you think it’s time to get out that word processor and pack your snacks and buckle down to write 50,000 words this November. If you decide it’s for you, I hope you have the best of luck. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have in the past, and more! I hope you come out with the greatest manuscript you can and that it becomes a beloved book.
But if you don’t, I want you to remember that it’s okay. You’re not a failure. You’re still an author.