Advice from a NaNo Rebel

Hello everyone, today I want to talk about my favorite time of year as a writer. This is National Novel Writing month (NaNoWriMo), which takes place throughout the month of November.


This year, I have awarded myself several personal badges, one of which is the rebel badge. Although NaNoWriMo rules say that you should start something new and fresh during the month of November, sometimes you need this time to work on something that you’ve already started. What difference does it make what you write, as long as you get your word count in? However, this is not the reason I call myself a rebel. I gave myself this badge, because I started working on my novel a day early. I couldn’t wait until today to start, so I started writing yesterday and by the time I went to bed last night, I was already over 3000 words into my novel. I wrote over 2000 today, thus far. As long as you don’t tell anyone on the forums that you’ve done this, I don’t see anything wrong with starting early. I heard of one lady on one of my Facebook groups that did her NaNoWriMo challenge in October, due to the fact that she had other commitments in November. She just kept up with her word count each day and filled the numbers in in November, so she could participate with everyone else.


This is not to say that you should or shouldn’t break the NanoWriMo rules, especially if you’re doing NaNoWriMo for the first time. Here’s a little advice for you. Don’t stress over making sure you reach the goal of 50K in 30 days. Yes, that’s the goal we all strive for, and you can win some awesome goodies if you do, but if you don’t finish your novel during the month of November, that’s okay too. This simply means that you have gotten further in your novel than you did before you ever decided to write. For me it’s not about winning the challenge, it’s about writing alongside hundreds of thousands of writers and getting inspiration from these writing friends in the forums when you’re stuck in the middle of a scene or chapter.


Before I go, there is one piece of advice that I heard on the Author Stories podcast episode where Hank Garner interviewed Jan Karon. This episode can be found at the following link:

Ms. Karon said that if you let fear hold you back, you’ll never be able to write a word. I’ve found this to be true. I simply had to push my fear of rejection aside and sit down in front of my computer and write whatever came to my mind, before I could write my first story or blog post. So instead of finding reasons why you can’t write, just sit down, place your fingers on your keyboard or the pen in your hand and a piece of paper in front of you, and write whatever you want. I don’t care what you write, just write something as simple as the fact that you don’t know what to write. Once you get started and open up the flood gates, your story, essay, blog post, or whatever you long to write will take shape.


One final thought, don’t let your writing become stressful. Have fun with your story, and if it looks messy now, remember that you can go back and fix any problematic areas later. Just let the words come to you naturally, and even if you have to write fast to keep up with your muse, that’s better than having no story at all. Feel free to share your own writing progress or any thoughts you have about NaNoWriMo in the comments below.


Until next time, I’ve got to get back to writing, so I’ll update you next week. Happy writing and have fun with NaNoWriMo.

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