As most of you – especially the fiction writers know – November is the National Novel Writing Month and around 300k people are writing their novels right now.
Their challenge is to complete 50k words in 30 days, which may sound hard but I think it sounds much harder than it is in reality.
Many of you were reaching out to me asking if I am doing NaNoWriMo this year or not so I decided to make a separate episode letting you know and providing explanations and thoughts about the subject too.
I wrote both of my novels Highfall and DreamDown participating in NaNoWriMo and it was a great experience. There are few elements to it that I think are very important for newbie writer. Most of us struggle to finish writing our novel – especially if it’s our first novel. NaNoWriMo adds motivation and encouragement to your writing process. First of all you have a deadline and target wordcount + a challenge. And second, the forums with writers like you who have the same struggles and are as excited as you are adds to the emotional support that you will definitely need while writing your book.
So that is why I participated in NaNoWriMo 2 years in a row and as a result wrote and self published my 2 novels.
This was the good part.
Now let me continue by saying that this year I am not doing NaNoWriMo and am doing something different instead.
Before you think that I am contradicting to what I just said let me explain why.
NaNoWriMo is good at making sure that you finish writing your first draft. And as all of us know the first drafts are very bad. After that you will need to work on it. The first draft is definitely not what you’d like your readers to see.
I guess what I want to say is that NaNoWriMo is good in making sure that you put out those words and that you complete your first draft. It is also very good in developing your habit of writing every day and if you’ve been listening to this podcast for a while you know how important that is. But NaNoWriMo has absolutely no impact on the quality of your writing. And that’s what differentiates the good book from the bad one.
So what I did this year instead of NaNoWriMo was enroll in writer’s bootcamp, where I will hopefully learn how to write well. And as a non-English speaker the challenge for me is bigger than for most of you out there.
This is the second month I’m learning at the bootcamp and I’d like to give a big shoutout to Randall Andrews, who is putting up with my complicated character and unpolished writing.
The first side effect that I got from being able to differentiate good quality text from the bad one was realizing that what I had written up to now is not written well. It’s one thing when you know it as an abstract fact and it’s completely another thing when you have proofs for that.
And believe me, that realization was not a very pleasant one and at some point it even made me think of not writing anymore. But then I understood that by learning how to write well I will be able to correct what was not written well up to now, instead of deciding not to write at all.
So why I am doing re-writes and concentrate on the quality of the writing is because if I did my 3rd NaNoWriMo I would most probably write my 3rd novel in the same manner I did the previous 2 ones and end up with the same results in terms of quality.
So what I am doing now is going through my first novel Highfall and applying what I have learnt so far to what I had written back then. Like that I will learn on my mistakes, make sure I am aware of the most common ones and make it easier not to repeat them again in the future.
So I guess this whole episode gets down to one conclusion – NaNoWriMo is good but it is not enough. It’s the first step of the process and there is a lot to come after.
Those of you who have not taken that first step – I encourage you to do so. And don’t worry that NaNoWriMo has already started – set your own timeline and make your own challenge. It will still work.
And those who already have the first manuscript – work on the text and make sure that you’ve done your best and you’ve worked on the quality.
And if you have – then our self-publishing services can help you with all the rest that needs to be done, like editing, book cover, formatting, etc. Simply visit www.publishmybook.today let us work on your book and save your time, so you spend it on writing.
I guess that was all I had for you today.
Don’t give up and keep writing!