Saturday, 31 October 2015

It All Starts Tomorrow – Pros and Cons of Doing Nanowrimo


Well it’s the 31st October and Nanowrimo starts tomorrow as well as our million word challenge. For those who missed the million word challenge post – basically members of the Sheffield Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Group are going to see how long it takes them to write one million words. But for those of you, that are ummming and awwwing over whether to do nanowrimo, here are some of the pros and cons.

Let’s start with the cons and finish on a positive.

Con –

1.    November is a bad month. I don’t know who came up with November as the month to complete nanowrimo in but it is a bad month. Let’s start with its got 30 days instead of 31, but you also have Bonfire Night for the British and Thanksgiving for the Americans. As well as the start of the building up to Christmas.

2.    If you fall behind, it’s hard to catch up. 1667 words a day is a lot, especially if you have other commitments for example a full time job. And not hitting that word count means you can fall behind quiet quickly.

3.    Quantity over quality. Nanowrimo is about getting the words out, not about producing good quality. This means that what you are left with at the end of November is not great and will need some serious editing. (But you should do that after finishing every novel.)

4.    50,000 words is not a full novel. You are going to need to add to it and make that story grow to maybe even twice its length or more after nanowrimo finishes.

5.    Goodbye life, family, friends – you have a word count to hit. In order to write a good, coherent novel in 30 days, you’re going to spend an awful lot of time writing. And it is not just the writing, but thinking and planning. You’re going to live and breathe this book for 30 days, and that means that you’ll have to disappear to anything that is not essesntial such as your job and feeding your children.

6.    It’s stressful. Writing a novel takes work, hard work. Characters, conflicts, romances, arguments, fight scenes. It’s hard. It is difficult enough to write a novel, but add an extremely tight deadline, well it adds extra pressure.

7.    Cleaning your house will have never had been more appealing. You are going to get to some point that you are desperate not to be writing. And if you can keeping the writing going, well everything else will take a back step and your house will take a back step.

8.    Good writers read – well you wont be reading in nanowrimo, or editing, or much else for that fact. So you are likely to lose creative influences on writing.

9.    You will feel guilty feel guilty about anything else you write, be it an email, blog post or facebook post. If its not adding to the word count, it’s not helping.

10. You will be beome in danger of caffeine overload.


And now the pros –

1.    You get 50,000 words written and that’s a hell of a stab towards a first draft. And for some people that will include a beginning, middle, end an a whole list characters to work with.

2.    Once nanowrimo is over you have something to work with. It is easier to work with words that are already written and come December, you will have that work with.

3.    You will find out what is really important in your life. You will have to give up things to write and may just find out that you live without watching Pointless after work.

4.    Writing everyday creates discipline To hit that word count, you are going to have to write every singles day and get rid of all those things that may lead to procrastination, you have a word count to hit after all.

5.    You have a clear goal. “I will write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days, starting on November 1st.  I will achieve this by writing 1,667 words a day.”  This is so much better than “I will finish my novel someday.”

6.    It gets rid of the fear of writing a novel. Having a set goal shows that you that it really can be done.

7.    It’s friendly. For most of the time, writing is a lonely experience, which is why joining a writing group is such a good idea. But Nanowrimo gives your forums, communities, people to root for you and bounce off ideas.

8.    It keeps you accountable (and motivated). Nanowrimo is public. People know your word count, they will ask how you are doing and you will not to fail for them and for yourself.

9.    It gives you a kick up the backside.

10.  There’s no sign up fees or anything else so actually you really have nothing to lose by giving it a go.

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