NaNoWriMo 2020: A Reflection

NaNoWriMo, which stands for National Novel Writing Month, or more casually referred to as “NaNo” is month long writing challenge that takes place every year in November. Over the course of thirty days, writers around the world challenge themselves to write 50,000 words. Yeah, 50,000 words, which equates to about 138 pages if you’re typing in Times New Roman Size 12. Although 50,000 is typically below the average length of a published novel, it’s still a really great start to writing your own manuscript. A lot of famous authors started their first drafts of their books as a NaNo project, like Marissa Meyer with The Lunar Chronicles and Rainbow Rowell with Fangirl. It also wouldn’t be an article by Izzy if I didn’t stuff a book recommendation in, so I wholeheartedly recommend any book by Marissa Meyer. If that still seems like a lot, many people also challenge themselves to their own variants on NaNo such as writing one short story per week or doing half- or quarter- NaNos, 25,000 words and 12,500 words respectively. 

Another thing I love about NaNoWriMo is the community aspect of the challenge. It’s not a typical writing competition. You’re not competing with anyone, and there aren’t any ‘prizes’ except the feeling of writing something you’re proud of. Instead, it’s kind of like everyone’s in it together, and it’s really awesome to be able to connect with other writers and support each other. Although sometimes it feels really overwhelming and difficult, I remind myself I’ve already participated in the challenge every year since I believe 2017, and that there’s probably a lot of other writers feeling the same way. I’ve done quite a few NaNoWriMos already, even if I haven’t hit the full 50,000 each year. Also I’ve heard a few people are planning to do NaNo this year since they’ve got more time, being shut in at home due to the pandemic. I think that ever since the pandemic started I’ve been writing a lot more than usual and it’s been a really good distraction from the regular world, especially since I typically like to write fantasy or sci-fi.

Since NaNoWriMo is not over yet this year, I’m unable to share my concluding thoughts or tell you if I “won” the challenge by writing all 50k words. However, so far, I think it’s going pretty well. Even though it’s been a bit of a struggle finding the time to write this month, I’m currently a little bit over the halfway point, and plan to “catch up” more over break. I think NaNo really helped me develop a better habit to write every day consistently, whereas typically I’m more of a “mood writer.” In addition, NaNo has also been great motivation to complete a longer project, and I’d really recommend the challenge to anyone who also aspires to be able to just write more in general. 

You can also sign up at the NaNoWriMo official website at (nanowrimo.org) for resources and tips for the challenge and to connect with other writers around the world through its forums. Good luck!

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