Participating in NaNoWriMo Without Entering the Competition

We’re just days away from November 2017, and with the emergence of another November, comes another NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). This year I am participating in NaNoWriMo, but not officially.

For those unfamiliar, NaNoWriMo is a global event online where writers all over the world attempt to complete a 50,000 word novel in just 30 days. The NaNoWriMo organization offers prizes for those who are able to win the competition. A Google search of NaNoWriMo will present you with hundreds if not thousands of posts with strategies and planning ideas.

As a writer, I get excited every time NaNoWriMo comes around. For years, I haven’t even attempted to get involved myself. It wasn’t fear of failure, it was because I didn’t want to add to my list of obligations. This year however, I’ve made some lifestyle changes that have allowed me to explore creative projects more. Two months ago, I started writing a work of fiction and I am now 22,000 words into the manuscript.

Participating in NaNoWriMo is great inspiration to start your story

Participating in NaNoWriMo Unofficially

This year I will happily be participating in NaNoWriMo. But as I’ve already started my manuscript, I will not be entering the competition.

Amazingly, NaNoWriMo does allow you to compete if you have already started a manuscript, but it would just mean that any words you have written before the start of November won’t count towards the 50,000 word goal.

I personally just don’t feel like I’m taking part to be rewarded. The reward for me will be knowing that I have succeeded in completing the first draft of my fantasy based novel.

Participating in NaNoWriMo unofficially is perfectly fine, and even NaNoWriMo founder Grant Faulkner encourages writers to do their own NaNoWriMo challenges on this podcast.

Every year I see many talented writers Tweeting about their experience. I see communities arise focused on motivating writers. I see meetup groups formed that are dedicated to helping writers knock out their daily (or weekly) word quotas. I just want to be a part of this wonderful experience.

There’s something about the camaraderie that NaNoWriMo creates that makes me want to bask in it. I wish to band with other writers and enjoy the experience of finishing a manuscript together in 30 days. I want to hear the horror stories that come from writers falling behind, and to share my own. I want to hear tales of triumph and hope that it will inspire me to keep going when times get tough.

At the end of November, I want that feeling of accomplishment after completing the objective. And that feeling alone will be enough for me. I will celebrate the winners, and I will encourage the ones who fell short to keep going, because there are no losers.

The real reason that NaNoWriMo exists is to get writers writing. To invoke the creative spark. If you used NaNoWriMo as a catalyst for this purpose, then that is a victory within itself.