The Book in Each of Us

The Book in Each of Us

Why you should fit NaNoWriMo into your busy November

Edward Ceapcin CONTRIBUTOR

Image: NaNoWriMo

“Everyone has a book in them,” or so the saying goes. Nearly two decades after its founding, National Novel Writing Month (popularly known as ‘NaNoWriMo’) continues to enjoy a strong upward trend in number of participants. In pursuit of this ideal, November becomes a 30-day creative marathon, filled to the brim with plenty of inspiration, stress, and for a select few, satisfaction upon reaching the 50,000-word goal and being declared a ‘winner.’ Of course, for the uninitiated, the word November may be enough to scare them off for good. After all, how could anyone manage to juggle schoolwork, extracurriculars, part-time jobs, and many of the other obligations that demand our attention during this time of year, while writing a full-length novel on the side?

In a way, November is the perfect month for an endeavour like this. The truth is that, while interspersing your writing between several other tasks and responsibilities may not seem ideal, this type of situation is a reality for many active writers, who work day jobs and plan accordingly to accommodate writing time. Overcoming the stress and time constraint is an important part of the process and shows commitment and good organization, and on top of that, imagine how much writing a committed and well-organized individual can then get done when they aren’t as busy as they were during November.

Checking over my friends list on the NaNoWriMo website, there are all kinds of people of many different ages and occupations who are taking on the challenge. It is really encouraging to see how people from all over the world are making time in their busy lives to pursue the passion which they share with one another, and the support which NaNoWriMo provides is also a tremendous help. Whether one is writing a classic fantasy novel or a steampunk romance or any other genre you can imagine, there are all kinds of resources present (from specific forums to pro writers’ tips) to clarify and guide, as well as encourage one another to keep pushing and not give up on reaching the ultimate goal.

Making progress is as simple as setting aside an hour each night to scribble away ideas in a notebook or type away at a laptop. Even if, at the end of the month, one should fall short of the 50,000-word goal, the tens of thousands, maybe thousands, or even hundreds of words that resulted from all of this are that much more than nothing.

After putting off my attempt at this contest for a couple of years, I finally went into last year’s edition of the competition determined to write as much as I could, and I succeeded. But success shouldn’t necessarily be measured in terms of word count, but in terms of how you grow as a writer. The discipline that it takes to balance all of the things November throws our way, while also sticking to a consistent writing regimen, is an excellent quality to hone. At the same time, the interconnectedness and resources which NaNoWriMo provide to the hopeful writer makes the crazy month that we have brought on ourselves that much easier and more enjoyable. If it’s true that everyone has a book in them, there’s no better time to put pen to paper and make that book a reality than during National Novel Writing Month.