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  • Rachael Bell-Irving

My First #NaNoWriMo

Updated: Mar 12

I first entered the bookstagram world last year in late October and very quickly began seeing this strange hashtag popping up again and again: #nanowrimo. I vividly remember sitting on the bus going to work, scrolling through Instagram until my neck began to cramp from looking down at my phone too long, and wondering what is this all about? NaNoWriMo, more formally known as National Novel Writing Month, is a global challenge to try and write a novel (50,000 words) in November. Authors and amateurs alike take on this intense and rewarding challenge to realize dreams of writing a book. For a year I have been waiting to be able to take part, and now it is finally here!

To get myself through the month and attempt to achieve this lofty goal, I have made three promises to myself. NaNoWriMo is a smooth blend of a tough trial and an inspiring exercise. With this in mind, I vow to give it my best effort. Regardless of my results, in the end, I want to have no regrets come to the end of the month. It is meant to be a fun challenge. If I am lazy then I won’t be nearly as satisfied in the end. I will be prepared. This is a skill I am quickly learning. Much of my career and life experiences thus far have put me in positions where I do not have the luxury of being prepared or receiving training. Due to this, I am very adept at working on the fly. That strategy does not work for sustained work in progress (WIP). Preparation provides foundation and sustenance for any project and I am doing my due diligence. For the first time, I have fully plotted out my book. Shocking, I know. I have always been a pantser (as in I write by the seat of my pants) but NaNoWriMo is the perfect opportunity to try something new. I have created a road map for my story, which will help me stay on track and use my time efficiently. I have also completed preliminary research on my topic to help me save time during November. It is difficult to ever be completely prepared for anything. Leaving room for flexibility and creativity is also important. I hope that this level of #NaNoPrep will be effective. We’ll find out by the end of the month.

As this is a lofty challenge I believe it is also important to be forgiving to myself. Time is a valuable resource, but a limited one and life often get in the way. For the days that I fail, or if I don’t reach 50,000 in the end, I promise to forgive myself. I want to make my first NaNoWriMo experience a positive one. As badly as I want to reach the goal, my mental health and personal growth are just as important. If you have never heard of NaNo, I encourage you to check out the website. If you have ever said to yourself, I wish I could write a book, now is a perfect time. There is a huge community of writers calling out for you to join them. Whether you need advice, ideas or creative support there are people there to lift you up. Stay tuned for more information on my WIP and NaNo journey. I look forward to sharing the journey with you.