Dear first-time Wrimo,
Welcome to NaNoWriMo! When you signed up, you were likely told that NaNoWriMo is a challenge that enables writers and writers-to-be to write a novel in a month.
They lied. Okay, they didn’t truly lie, nor did they tell a little white lie. They told a lie by omission, but not one of those lies where finding out the full truth would be shameful.
So come here. I’m going to tell you the truth.
NaNoWriMo is so much more than writing a novel in a month. Yes, there’s definitely a lot of writing involved. And I won’t lie, writing a book in a month is hard. It requires determination, persistence, and refusing to give up when things get tough. There’s a reason the average NaNo win rate is less than 20%.
There will be days where you sit down at the computer to write and don’t want to write a word. No matter how long you stare at the screen and poke your characters and beg them to make words, they won’t. These dark days may make you feel like quitting NaNo altogether, or even worse, quitting writing altogether and letting your creativity bury its head in the sand and never come out. You might fall behind and find it more challenging to catch up, and as the days go by, the words to be written grow only higher as the month goes on.
But there will also be days where the words of your story are forming themselves faster than you can get them on paper (or screen). You might find yourself scribbling down a new idea while waiting in line or putting off work or school. Some days, every element of your novel will fit together perfectly and reignite your excitement for your story. This feeling is what we This happens to every writer, even professionals. Heck, this happens to everyone living life: some days are just better than others, but if you stop now, you won’t know what’s waiting at the end.
Everyone already knows that, though. Here’s the real secret, the thing you don’t see when you click the Sign Up button. NaNoWriMo–nay, stories–can change your life. Whether you come out of the month with a completed novel or not, you did the thing so many people say they’d like to do some day but never actually do. You started. That’s more powerful than you think. When you start, it’s easier to keep going, and going, and going, until you reach your goal, from finishing that novel to publishing it for the world to read.
The effects of NaNoWriMo are also great at seeping into your non-November life. If you decide to take on something big–maybe start running or take a road trip across the country or jump out of a plane–you may find yourself wondering if you can do it. I can tell you this now: you can. After all, you completed the momentous task of writing a book in a month without giving up. You can do anything you set your mind to, and your built-in community is ready to cheer you on.
And when you land on the finish line, you’ll wonder why you ever considered quitting in the first place.
Get your rockets ready and buckle up. You’re in for the ride of your life.
Let’s blast off our creativity together.
15th-year Wrimo (and hopeful 15-time winner!)