National Novel Writing Month started on Saturday. I’ve participated the last seven years, and I participated in Camp NaNo this past July. The bulk of, if not the entire first draft of Wings of Twilight and all three Zack Jackson novels were written during NaNoWriMo. I wrote 3/4 of the first draft of the first book of my upcoming trilogy during Camp NaNo this July. So clearly, it works for me.
Many people criticize NaNoWriMo for convincing people who can’t write that they’ve written a novel for publication and therefore, anything written during NaNoWriMo is horrible, bad, and generally crap. This perception is not helped by people who think that their first draft is good enough to publish and they don’t need an editor, or worse, they can’t afford one so they’ll just publish anyway and fix things when they can.
The truth is, NaNoWriMo is more about helping people develop the discipline to write. Successful authors write pretty much every day. Sitting down and being productive as a writer is more involved that just banging out bad haikus on Twitter in between clicking Buzzfeed links and watching amusing cat videos…
Sorry, I got distracted by a cat video.
I use NaNoWriMo as a way to knuckle down and write every day. After 8 years, I still haven’t developed the discipline to sit down and write several thousand words a day, but I can do it for a couple of months at a time. It’s true that what I write is intended for publication, but really, what’s the difference between doing it when hundreds of thousands of other people are doing it, or any other time of the year? My first drafts NEVER go public. Every thing I have ever published goes through multiple editing and proofreading passes before I put it up on Amazon.
If you want to try to develop the discipline to write novels for a living (or just for fun), or if you have a story scratching at the inner wall of your brainbox, begging to be let out, give NaNoWriMo a try. The worst thing that can happen is you don’t write a book, which is the same thing that will happen if you don’t participate. Maybe you’ll embark upon a life-changing journey.