I still remember when my friend first introduced me to NaNoWriMo.
Until she did, I was completely unaware of the challenge. It was 2014, and I had been playing around with stories for the past few years, but I was never able to finish one. At that point, I was working on a fantasy novel.
My friend explained the concept of NaNoWriMo, and I still remember asking her a million questions. She told me to sign up for the YWP version, as that way I would be able to set my own word count goal, because there was no way that I would have been able to hit 50,000 words at that point. I just didn’t have the speed or the organizational skills. So I plugged my goal in for 10,000 words and got to work.
I don’t know what it is about that writing challenge that makes me pump out so many words. I don’t think it was any sense of competition. I think it was the sense of community and encouragement that NaNoWriMo is so wonderful at providing. There are others like you doing the same thing you’re doing. You’re not along. You can do this.
I met my 10,000 word goal and honestly, that was the most I’d written in such a short amount of time in, well, ever. I was a pretty dedicated writer, but I had been working on my first novel for over a year, and it felt like such slow going.
10,000 words can make a big difference. The consistency skills, as well as the sense of accomplishment that came with making the goal, stuck with me as I continued writing that novel. Eventually, a few months later, I sat back in my computer chair and stared at the final words on the screen.
I had done it. I had finished my first novel.
That was the moment I thought, “Wow, I want to keep doing this!”
I really like NaNoWriMo, if you couldn’t tell. It really gave me a nudge in the right direction, granting me some desperately needed momentum. I credit a lot of my writing success to that momentum that NaNoWriMo continually provides year after year. It sounds strange, but I feel like it gives me an excuse to write. Starting a brand new project is genuinely an intimidating thought, but doing it for NaNoWriMo? So much better!
Anyways, I just wanted to ramble on about some fuzzy NaNoWriMo memories and give it the credit it deserves for guiding me onward. Considering it begins next month, I thought I’d spend these next few weeks posting tips and NaNo stories that I have! Next week, I’ll share some tips that have helped me conquer the NaNoWriMo challenge over the past few years!