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Attempting NaNoWriMo 2021 – Zahra Modan, WSFG

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National novel writing month, also known as NaNoWriMo is a writing event for writers across the world who wish to challenge themselves to write a book within one month. The event requires a person to write a novel of 50,000 words or more within the time span of the beginning of November to the end. It’s especially helpful for writers who are attempting to get out of writer’s block or are simply interested in another challenge that will improve their skills. 

 

How did I start NaNoWriMo? 

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Starting your book for the event will depend on what type of writer you are; if you are a planner then you may have done some planning and preparation for your story like creating the characters or the plot – naturally you wouldn’t have started writing yet. You could also be a pantser, this is the title that’s used to describe people who start their story without any structure set. This solely just depends on the person and what they find more comfortable. I started my novel on the first day without any plan set in stone, however that won’t work for everyone. 

 

Making your story interesting and understanding good lengths 

One of the issues I faced at the beginning of NaNoWriMo which I now know well, is understanding how to make sure you have enough words to fill the deadline without making certain scenes too long and therefore making them boring. Although it is important to use in-depth descriptions in your story, it is quite easy to overdo it if the majority of your story consists of descriptions without enough plot or the other way round. The way I managed to tackle this to read over my work right before I’d finish for the day, doing this meant that the mistakes I made would come to light and I’d note where I should focus my next lines on. Often reading over my work – especially when I’d do it after taking a break – meant that I’d be seeing it with fresh eyes that would notice mistakes easier so that in the future if I ever wished to seek inspiration from stories I wrote in the past, I’d understand my story well.  

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Is it possible to have the time to complete this event? 

To put it in its simplest form, yes. I often find myself quite busy, however even the website itself recommends meeting a certain number of words every day – 1667. This isn’t that hard to fill, especially when your plot begins to set properly, and you can finish the amount within an hour if you’re in the flow. Even on days where I might be a little under, I could still manage to fit in the necessary words on the next day or any other time where I felt my writing was flowing smoother.  Naturally, there were a few issues where some days I either wasn’t I the right mood to be writing or the words just weren’t coming out – this is likely to happen to many people and to this I’d simply recommend finding something you often take inspiration from – this could be drawing or even reading another book – although you can miss the word count for a few days, it’ll likely catch up at the end when you find yourself writing far more to finish the 50,000 words in time.  

 

Is it truly fun? 

The event truly is a joy if you’re someone who enjoys writing. Pragmatically speaking, there is a lot of work involved but as a writer, sometimes the deadline can be beneficial as sometimes it will push you to work harder. The goal of NaNoWriMo is achievable and finishing it can be quite satisfying. So, it’s something that’s recommended. This year’s NaNoWriMo is almost finished, however the website can still be used for other challenges and November next year will follow on with the same 50,000 challenge. It’s an intriguing event and you can make new writing friends and mentors along the way.  

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