The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write a 50,000 novel in 30 days. Writers are encouraged to get their ideas down quickly, to tell the story. What matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It is about quantity, not quality. The next month (or months) they can edit and build on what they have written.
So many writers like the challenge of uncensored writing. It is an opportunity to be creative, to write without being judged by others or by yourself. True, you could be successful by writing the same word 50,000 times, but most writers want to create something, even if it is crap that will need a lot of work later.
I was successful one out of three attempts, but I am trying it again. Even if I do not complete 50,000 words, I am that much further ahead. I save what I have written and may edit and complete that novel in the future.
I hate to take this time away from writing my NaNoWriMo story, but I worry that I take too many “vacations” from my blog. I am trying to continue writing for my blog and in my personal journal.
This practice of intense writing is critical to becoming productive writers. It also can help us find our voice, since we are not changing our words constantly and just write what we are thinking. We can improve upon it later.
NaNoWriMo is not the only concentrated effort for writers. Some friends of mine are attempting to write a picture book each day, http://www.theresabook.com/picture-book-challenge/. Others are writing a poem a day for the November PAD (Poem A Day) Chapbook Challenge. More information about that is available on Robert Lee Brewer’s blogs; either My Name is Not Bob, robertleebrew.blogspot.com/ or his Poetic Asides blog.
I also heard about a program for scriptwriters, www.scriptfrenzy.org/. I am sure there are many more challenges available. Obviously, many types of writers stress the importance of getting something down on paper. They do not expect us to continue this every day forever, but to get used to the idea of writing daily, the idea of pants in the chair. Keep writing or your ideas will fade.
I’ve had characters seem to come alive in my head and urge me to tell their story, but then leave me when I didn’t start to write about what I pictured them saying and doing. Later when I decided I had time to tell that story, they would not come back. Occasionally I jot down an idea or brief memory, in hopes that eventually that storyline and those characters will again come alive for me.
NaNoWriMo and similar programs offer us a chance to push ourselves. No one is going to criticize you if you do not finish. They won’t even know if you don’t tell them, like I just did, but you will have tried something new and have something tangible for your efforts. Write and have fun.