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NaNoWriMo No-No

If you're even kinda, half-way part of the writing community, you're aware of the annual NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge. If you aren't, it basically boils down to committing to write everyday for 30 days, with the goal of writing at least 50,000 words during November. Essentially writing a novel in the span of one month. (It's an official thing and you can learn more about the challenge here if you're interested.)

My twitter feed and MFA cohort message boards have been blowing up with updates from my fellow writers who have accepted the challenge. I couldn't be prouder of them and the progress they made, their stress over meeting daily goals, their worries about taking time away from their writing. But for me? All that's a big ol' NOPE.

Why? Well, I'm an edit as I go kind of writer. I might write 2,000 words (or more) one day and, because of the way I'm wired, I'll spend the next two days at my desk fluffing, finessing, cutting, changing what I wrote. If I don't, I get this little tickle in the back of my brain which insists I screwed something up in my story which will come back to bite me in the tuckas later. I can't stand it.

Here's the have to write the way YOU write. You have to follow and trust the process which works for YOU. The real challenge is figuring all that out. And the only way to do that is through trial and error. I've tried setting daily word-count goals for myself only to fail and then have to deal with the guilt of failure in addition to trying to get my words right. I don't need that kind of negativity in my life - and neither do you.

If NaNoWriMo sounds interesting, give it a shot next November. But remember, be kind to yourself if it turns out not to be the best fit. If nothing else, you learned that type of process is not right for you. If you discover you thrive on self-imposed pressure, the ROCK ON WITH THAT! Get comfortable in your wordy skin and revel in it.

Ralph Waldo Emerson knew what he was talking about when he said, "Its not the destination, it's the journey." Discovery is vital to creativity and the source of all truly good stories.

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National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is an annual event in which participants attempt to write a 50,000-word novel within the month of November. While participating in NaNoWriMo can be a fun and challenging experience, there are a few things that you should avoid if you want to be successful:

  1. Procrastination: Don't wait until the last minute to start writing your novel. Make a plan and start working on it as soon as possible to give yourself the best chance of reaching your word count goal.

  2. Lack of preparation: Don't jump into NaNoWriMo without a clear idea of what your novel is about and where you want it to go. Take some time to plan out your story and characters to…

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