Beyond NaNoWriMo – A Challenge for Real Authors

NaNoWriMo (Nano) is halfway done. I’m ahead of the stated Nano goal at the time of writing this, but I’m chasing my personal word count goal of 2,000 words per day. Right now I’m behind and need to write about 3,000 words today to catch up.

Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month.

If you don’t know what Nano is, I suggest clicking on the link above and learning more about it there. Basically, it’s a challenge to write 50,000 words in one month in a novel.

According to Nano’s website, over 350,000 people participated last year. That’s huge. The site also states that more than 250 Nano novels have been traditionally published. That’s not so huge, but it’s a telling commentary on how hard it is to get a traditional publishing contract these days.

One of my assumptions about Nano for a long time has been that many folks who participate largely aren’t trained writers; they’re just people who want to write books. I think that’s great, whether it’s true or not.

But out of that assumption comes a concern, a question: how many of us who are doing Nano this year won’t write much of anything in December? Or in January? Or beyond?

Nano can jumpstart the formation of a writing schedule, but with the “event” of Nano over on November 30th, how do we make sure we keep writing afterward?

It’s been said and alluded to many times by many pro writers that writing is something that needs to happen far more consistently than every day for one month out of a year. Here’s a quote I love that’s been attributed to Stephen King:

I’m guessing a LOT of amateurs write for Nano, and again, I think that’s great. But my challenge to those of us who fancy ourselves something more than mere amateurs is this:

Write more consistently.

(I’m preaching to myself as well, here. I go through spurts. I’ll be really productive for a month, and then miss two. Or three. Or more than three, I’m ashamed to admit.)

I firmly believe that great writers write often and consistently. Not everything they put out is gold, but a lot of it probably is because they’re used to writing and they know how to make things work within their stories.

With that belief in mind, I’m offering up a challenge to you (and to myself) today: let’s make this December the first ever December where we’ve continued to write. We can call it #DeCoWriMo–December Continue Writing Month.

If you believe and understand that writing is something you need to do consistently in order to succeed in publishing, then let’s get behind this, support each other, and make sure we do our part to keep writing.

#DeCoWriMo

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2 comments on “Beyond NaNoWriMo – A Challenge for Real Authors
  1. Kessie says:

    Great idea! I know lots of people write 50k for Nano, but their book isn’t finished. They ought to have a December cheering squad, too.

    Nano also has “summer camps” that I’ve done a few times. Those are fun, too.

  2. You are absolutely right! I won NaNoWriMo in 2010 and kept on going for the next year or so (along with a 2 month break here and there). I thought I just had one novel, but it turned into a trilogy. I wanted to see my books in print before I die, so skipped traditional publishing. I attended a mini-seminar on self-publishing at a con in 2011 to learn how to do it right. Keeping full control of my work is important to me, and the extra work of editing, contracting for cover design, etc., is well worth it.

    I have a career that pays the bills, so I write because it is my avocation, and also because I have a few fans who have enjoyed the story. If anybody out there is interested in self-publishing, look up “Self-Publishing for Virgins” by Peggy Barnes DeKay. I have the first edition, but she put out a second edition in 2012. Using her advice, I self-published my first book in 2013, the second in 2014, and will be putting out the third book at the end of this summer. I highly recommend her book – or a seminar if you can get to it – and also my graphic designer Leah Kaye Suttle (http://www.leahsuttle.com/), please forgive the plugs, but they’re both smart, savvy, and talented ladies who deserve recognition. 🙂

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