Seeing as how WordPress tends to attract people who, well, like to write, I thought it would be good to share a couple thoughts from my experience participating in (and winning!) National Novel Writing Month. For those who don’t know, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a challenge to write a 50,000+ word novel in one month, from November 1st through 30th. Sound intimidating? It was.

I would say that the first 2,000 words were relatively easy, with all my ideas that had been brewing just pouring out. The next 10,000 or so were brutal, as I tried to silence the inner critic that kept telling me, your ideas suck, your characters are lame, your story doesn’t deserve to be written. I literally would have to tell myself to shut up and write. And write I did. Aside from a slog in week three that came from having no clue how to direct a story that had literally taken on a life of its own and had derailed from all of my organizational best intentions (outlines and character profiles be damned!), I poured words out without looking back, without rereading (except for the occasional plot or character referencing), and without listening to that persistent little voice asking ‘Why bother?’

For those of you who are aspiring writers, I’ll tell you why you should bother to participate in NaNoWriMo. If you’re like myself , you tend to be paralyzed by the fear that your ideas aren’t good enough, that you don’t have enough time to dedicate to writing, that no one will want to read what you write, there is nothing more freeing than finally writing a book – and fast. It is absolutely liberating to have a word goal pulling you through the self-doubting moments. And it is an incredibly empowering feeling actually hitting that 50,000 word mark, actually typing that final sentence that has been floating around your brain for months, maybe even years.

So, for all you writers out there, I encourage you to take inspiration from NaNoWriMo. Even if you don’t participate in the challenge, try to silence that inner critic and get those words out. The act of writing is the most important step in writing. The editing can come later.

Until next time, happy writing!