Letter of Recommendation: NaNoWriMo
National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) has just begun, and writers around the world are taking part. I, too, plan on participating for the first time. While I focus on my voice as a writer and try to increase my productivity, this next month will help me grow a lot in my writing skills. However, this is not just for the extremely committed writers; it is also for anyone who has an open mind.
NaNoWriMo is an annual project that takes place every November. Using time as motivation, writers have just one month to write a 50,000 word novel. The limited amount of time is meant to push writers to get past their mental barriers and just write, despite doubts and imperfections. Throughout NaNoWriMo, participants can use the online community to encourage each other, give feedback, and share ideas. If 50,000 words is too much or not enough to ask for, writers are more than welcome to still participate. It is all about setting and meeting goals, whatever that means to the individual.
Although 50,000 words is ideal, I am unsure if I can meet this goal given my current schedule and stress level. Therefore, I am altering my word count goal to 40,000 words in the month. This means I need to write an average of 1,300 words a day. Beyond the word count, my goal is to find my creativity again. I used to have so many story ideas, and I used to do creative writing all the time. I still hold this passion, but I do not keep up with it like I used to due to the business of everyday life. With time, I have lost my creative outlook on everything, and my constant stream of ideas has run dry. When I try to do more creative writing, I find everything else stops me. Instead of letting my ideas drive my writing, I worry that my ideas are too cliche, too boring, or too common. I let my insecurities get in the way of my creative process, and I want to stop doing this. Therefore, I not only want to focus on my word count, but also finding inspiration like I used to. NaNoWriMo forces writers to push past these mental barriers, worry about them later, and just get ideas on paper.
Growing up, I have always had a passion for writing, and the number of filled notebooks stored away in my room can testify to that. However, besides a few short stories, I have not one completed work. Before I graduate, I want to have a written novel. Even if it has a questionable amount of quality, and needs to be completely rewritten, the idea of completing a project of that magnitude has always been a goal of mine. I keep waiting for an ideal time, since I am busy all the time. I have since come to realize there will be no ideal time to write my novel, and I need to simply push myself to do it if I want it to be done. I am also taking the time this month to look at how I prioritize things, to make sure I have time for everything I need to get done.
Whenever the word “essay” is mentioned in class, it is almost always followed by a series of groans from students who do not like writing. Many do not like writing because they have only ever been exposed to one type of writing. Those who hate essays might think writing a novel is a horrible idea. However, creative writing, especially when done outside of the classroom, feels completely different from writing essays. It is not limited by prompts and it is not guided by rubrics. It is whatever the writer wants it to be. It is pure freedom. To many, voluntarily choosing to write every day does not sound like a stress reliever. However, writing is an escape for me. It is like the escape felt with books or movies – except I get to create it. As a writer, an entirely new world can be created, and anything can happen. For people who are still figuring out their writing voice, I recommend trying different genres of writing. It is similar to reading in the sense that it may not be enjoyable until the right genre is found. Once a writer finds their passion, there is no feeling that compares.
I am going to write a novel. Not for anyone else, but for myself. I am going to finish a writing project, and not abandon it like many others I have tried. I am going to be honest; at the start of this thirty day journey, I am full of doubt. I am afraid of not being productive, or not finding inspiration. I am anxious to learn to manage both my writing time and my homework time after dance practice each day. I am not going to say that NaNoWriMo will be easy, but I believe it will be truly rewarding. I look forward to allowing more of my creative self to work again. I am so excited to write, with the only expectations being my own.
I strongly recommend NaNoWriMo, not only for serious writers, but for people who do not like writing too. Find your voice. It is there. It just has not been found yet. Find it, and it will set you free.
If you plan on participating in NaNoWriMo, please contact [email protected] I will be reflecting on this process at the end of the month, and would love to recognize your writing process as well.