Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Five reasons to sign up for NaNoWriMo

As November is rapidly approaching, and the research for my new novel is gearing up, I thought I'd take a minute today to remind myself of why I love NaNoWriMo. And because I hope that some of you out there are thinking about doing this mad, crazy, brilliant thing with me, here are five reasons to sign up this year!
  1. It helps you find time for your writing. It's the one piece of advice you'll find in almost every book, lecture and blog post about writing: you have to find the time to write regularly, every day if you can. The intensity of the NaNoWriMo month with help you to work out where your writing can fit into your life, and what your writing's more important than. Is it more important that that extra hit of the snooze button? Is it more important than EastEnders? The washing up? Hot food? Basic personal hygiene? Obviously (I hope) your writing can't be more important that all of these things, but it's surprising the time that you can find if you really want to.
  2. It gets you past the first chapter. I've written before about the possible dangers of writing and editing simulateously - namely having a drawer of perfect first chapters, but never having got further than that. Break the habit with NaNo. It may not suit everyone. There may well be a middle ground between editing too much and not editing it at all, but trying a new way of working could be just what you need.
  3. The pep talks. They're brilliant. When you're having one of those days where it feels like every word is being dragged kicking and screaming from your brain, a email will pop into your inbox reminding you that we all have days like that, that tomorrow will be better, and that you can do this!
  4. It makes your writing better. Okay, I don't actually have any scientific proof of this, but having finished NaNoWriMo three times, and having edited one of those drafts into an actual, proper, finished novel, I can tell you that the writing at the end was an awful lot better than at the beginning. It's like anything, yoga, baking, knitting, if you practice it for two hours a day, every day, you are going to improve.
  5. Because you love to write! What other reason do you need?! Every day, for a whole month, you'll sit down, start typing, and create people, places, smells and sights that didn't exist before you thought of them. You'll make your characters, and yourself, laugh and cry and probably, at some point, very cross. Frankly, what better way to spend a cold, damp dreary month (apologies to those of you in the southern hemisphere, I can't think of November in any other way) than in front of the fire with your notebook on your knee?
So there you have it. That's why I'm signing up this year. Will you be?

Ellie x

P.S. Have you read the first chapter of Hiding from Hollywood, and the other entries for SYTYCW yet? Voting's open for two more days!

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