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NaNoWriMo – A Great Productivity Prompt For Self-Published Authors

NaNoWriMo – A Great Productivity Prompt for Self-Published Authors

Samantha Warren headshot

NaNoWriMo veteran and advocate, Samantha Warren

With the organisers of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) starting to bang the drum for the 2015 event, now’s the perfect time to hear from a passionate advocate about how this mega writing prompt can boost the writing productivity of any self-published author. Over to US indie author Samantha Warren…

Ah, November. A month of pumpkin pie, turkeys (if you’re in the US) and NaNo. For the uninitiated, NaNo is a strange word that should have something to do with technology but instead has been adopted by a slew of writers across the globe. National Novel Writing Month, NaNo for short, is November 1st through the 30th and the main impetus is to write a novel in 30 days. 50,000 words, 30 days.

Why I Love NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo logo

The official logo of NaNoWriMo

I love NaNo. I’ll say it again. I love NaNo. I’ve heard “real writers” scoff at NaNo, at the hundreds of thousands of aspiring novelists who sign up to bleed onto the page for a full month. Those of us who do this as a living know that 1666 words a day really isn’t that many. Most authors I know have a word count goal of at least 2000. And 50,000 words? That’s at the absolute minimum of what constitutes a novel. Most publishers wouldn’t even look at it. And that’s okay, because writing a publishable novel isn’t the point.

That’s right. Writing a novel isn’t the point of NaNo. At least, not the way I see it. The real goal of a month of daily writing isn’t to finish a novel. It’s not to win awesome prizes (but really, who could pass up free print copies from Createspace and pretty badges?). The real goal of NaNo is to develop a habit of writing daily and meeting your word count goals.

How to Get the Regular Writing Habit

Those of us who do it every day know just how hard it is to plop your butt into the chair and force the words onto the page. We know about the inner struggles and the outer distractions. We understand that in order to make it easier, we have to do it Every. Single. Day. And that’s what NaNo is all about. Helping those who really want to be writers, those who truly aspire to make this a career, to develop that daily writing habit and to push through the many distractions that get lumped into Writer’s Block.

Heck, it happens during November, a month that isn’t well suited to full-on writing. It’s the month before Christmas when everyone’s preparing for the holidays. It’s near the end of most semesters, so students are rushing to meet other deadlines. And in the US, Thanksgiving falls right at the end, when most Wrimos are pushing to meet the final word count. Putting NaNo in November could have been poor decision making, I guess, but I choose to believe that the creators knew what they were doing.

Montage of some of Samantha Warren's book covers

Evidence of Samantha Warren’s own writing productivity

So there you have it. National Novel Writing Month isn’t about writing a novel. It’s not about winning. It’s about developing a habit that will stick with you the rest of your life.

And on a side note for all the scoffers out there, check out this list of published authors that came out of NaNo. Remember Water for Elephants? That movie with Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon? Yep, NaNoNovel. Not bad for a month of writing dangerously, eh?

OVER TO YOU NaNoWriMo – love it or hate it? What has NaNoWriMo done for you? We’d love to know! Join our conversation with Samantha via the comments box.

#Authors - why should you do @NaNoWriMo this year by #NaNoWriMo veteran @_SamanthaWarren #ww Click To Tweet
This Post Has 8 Comments
  1. NaNo is such an amazing jump start to get yourself writing and to also commit to your creativity, flat out, once a year. I’ve improved my results 100% by spending the month of October outlining, talking, and thinking about what I’m going to write.

    This year I’m also teaching a course that preps people in October on those items of stories that Terrance mentions and then in November we will write!

  2. While I understand the concept of NaNoWriMo I don’t endorse it. As the author of 28 fiction & nonfiction books I know what’s involved and this event makes it sound like it is much easier to write a book than it really is. In fact, this kind of thing may work for some folks but for many it is setting them up to fail. You may not be able to write that many words daily and then feel like a failure and never get back to your project. Or you may write like a fiend but have nothing but a bunch of words on paper to show for it. Writers need to know all about how to outline a book, how to deal with distractions, character development, point of view, and much more before they can “crank” out a book. For example, there are at least nine ways to outline a book and a writer needs to experiment to figure out which works best for him. NaNoWriMo seems to suggest the “pantsing” approach, which I don’t recommend (at least not for newbie writers).

  3. I participated in NaNo the past two years, and completed a rough draft both years. I am still working on rewriting my first book, but hope to have it go to editors in the near future. Last year’s book is languishing, waiting for it’s turn, as it will be book 4 in the series I’m writing. Since my first participation year, I have written nearly every day, always have a story in mind or in progress, I currently have 4 in progress, and plan to make that 5 when I work on a new book in November. By the time they are all written and ready to publish, I’ll have something for my readers to look forward to!

  4. NaNo has given me the gift of knowing I can write a novel. I may not be published yet, (because I am editing) but I stop that process every year in November to bang out another sequel. That way, when I get the editing thing figured out, I have plenty ready to go. And anyone who has written a NaNo novel, but doesn’t know what to do with it needs to find a good writing group locally. I am finally moving forward with help from a wonderful group of writers. Don’t stop Nov 30th!

  5. As a two time participant, and winner, of NaNoWriMo I fully endorse this event. As someone who had never put words to paper to write a complete novel, NaNo showed me I could. I now have a love for writing and a desire to create stories for others to enjoy.

    Of course this means I’m now independently wealthy and have dozens of published best sellers, right? Nope. In fact, I have yet to publish either of my NaNo stories. So what good did it do me? A lot. Because of what I did during NaNo I now think about writing all the time. I make time daily to write. It has even encouraged me to seek out teachers that help me become better at writing.

    NaNoWriMo really can show you how much fun writing can be and show you how capable you are of writing.

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Samantha Warren

Samantha Warren is a speculative fiction author who spends her days immersed in dragons, spaceships, and vampires. She milks cows for fun, collects zombie gnomes, and dreams about the day she’ll meet Boba Fett. Her love is easily purchased with socks and her goal in life is to eat a Beef Wellington cooked by Gordon Ramsay. Find out more about Samantha at her author website, www.samantha-warren.com.

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