by Mia Martins, jaBlog! Blogger & Drama Co-editor
You’ve probably heard of NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month where novelists of all genres pledge to finish a full novel in a single month. It’s a great way to motivate writers to work on their projects, placing writing as a priority. But what if you aren’t a novelist? What if you’re a scriptwriter, or a poet? What if you write creative nonfiction or short stories? Where’s your NaNoWriMo?
Well, have no fear! The NaNoWriMo foundation itself incorporates NaNoWriMo “rebels,” as they’re called, into their online forums and recognizes them as legitimate participants.
You can join online forums where other NaNoWriMo-ers congregate to talk about their nontraditional NaNoWriMo projects. Here, there is a support system for those working on any type of writing during the month of November.
One great aspect of NaNoWriMo is that the idea itself is flexible. You don’t necessarily have to set a limit of writing 50,000 words in one month—you could set a goal of 30,000 if you’re writing a novella, or 100,000 if you’re writing an epic fantasy. You could set a goal of a short story a week or a poem a day.
This time of intense writing doesn’t have to occur during November, either, though there are many unique benefits of participating during a month when others are. But if you have a particularly free month, say, a month of summer vacation, you could set aside this month as your personal NaNoWriMo.
When conducting your personal NaNoWriMo, there are many advantages, as well as disadvantages, to setting your own goals and expectations. For one, you’re able to tailor your goals to your needs, rather than being confined to the “50,000-words of a novel” expectation. This specificity can be a positive as you strive to complete your goal. However, you must also have the self-control to keep yourself on track without the entire world of participating novelists backing you.
Even if it’s the middle of May, with 50,000 words down and another 50,000 to go, do you possess the motivation and self-control to push yourself to continue writing? In times like these, you’ll need to enlist people such as parents, friends, or teachers to support you and encourage you to reach the goals you’ve set for yourself. Rewards can be great motivators, and function as a light at the end of the tunnel. The best way to achieve your goals is to find a reward that works for you.
Whether by the support of friends or the incentives of rewards, you need a way to keep yourself motivated. When you finally reach your personal goal and can reflect on all the work you’ve done, you’ll be thankful. Creating your own NaNoWriMo can be a challenge, but it’s certainly worth it in the end.