For those of you that don’t know, November is National Novel Writing Month. The challenge: 50,000 words in 30 days. I’ve participated for several years and “won” (completed the challenge) all but last year. It’s great for moving forward with my writing and getting in that habit, but that’s just one benefit. The list is exhaustive, but here are a few. I think they translate into more than just writing, and I often say that the two worlds- reality and imagination overlap.
It gets me in the habit of writing. Every day. Regardless of whether I’m tired or sick or it’s gorgeous outside or I have writer’s block. It doesn’t matter. 1,667 words a day.
Practice strengthens my craft. Even though this is more of a freewrite exercise (this isn’t choosing between antique white and cloud white. Choose white and go! Don’t look back. Don’t second guess) and it’s just that- freeing.
Community. I’ve met such an amazing group of writers over the years and am so happy that I have found my tribe in them.
The children. Seriously, this is a global practice and the school based programs get kids involved and excited about writing.
No. It’s truly liberating to have a month to say “no” to the million little things I don’t want to do (attend a book group that never reads anything I like) so that I can say “yes” to myself and my writing this month. It’s routine now; friends and family know I check my email and texts when I’ve hit my word count for the day. If it’s important, they know to call me.
Countless friends have thanked me for showing them it’s okay to make themselves a priority.
Like I said, those are just a few of the benefits I never imagined. Of course, I’d love to pick up an amazing writing contract and be able to extend this 30 days into a lifetime. But maybe that’s the point: get in the habit of writing daily on deadline and with that dedication, the money will follow.