Image courtesy of NaNoWriMo.

Hi writers! National Novel Writing Month 2022 is fast approaching – we are currently in the thick of preparation month, or Preptober as it is known in NaNoWriMo circles.

But wait – slow down! What is National Novel Writing Month? For those unfamiliar, National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short, is an annual event wherein people all over the world take up the challenge to write a 50,000 word draft of a project – usually a novel, but not always – in one month, from November 1st to November 30th. You can learn more about NaNoWriMo’s history and the organization on their official website: https://nanowrimo.org/

Here at Kobo Writing Life and Kobo overall, we hold KoboWriMo, where members of our teams join together to participate in write-ins and other events as we all work on completing the NaNoWriMo challenge. Many members of our teams have “won” NaNoWriMo – some more than once!

We post updates from our team, advice, encouragement, and more – we’ve even held write-ins in our Toronto office in the past and over Zoom, so stay tuned for more information regarding online and in-person events later.

Our NaNoWriMo advice

This year, we want to offer some advice that focuses on what you can do to make NaNoWriMo enjoyable. This advice can help you think of it not as a means to an end, but as an experience in and of itself that will help you practice your craft of writing, even if you don’t hit that coveted word count.

Nothing is more demoralizing than having a deadline and not meeting it – but remember that deadlines, such as 50,000 words by the end of November, is a guideline. You can lower the wordcount, extend your writing into December, or even use NaNoWriMo as a month to simply plan and research for your novel. Ultimately, it is about doing what is best for you as an author – and as a person.

Write what you want to see in the world – or, write what you love – this is the ultimate word of advice: write for yourself! It’s been said time and time again, but you will feel the most passionate, the most motivated, and the most excited when writing the story that you want to read. Everything else comes after! For this journey, write the novel you wish existed in the world. The more self-indulgent it is, the better! Now is the time to be totally selfish with your writing, and insert everything that you love in your work.

Don’t compare yourself to others – unless you are using comps to uplift your WIP – if you spend the entire month worrying about what others are writing, or how many words they have written, your experience will be dampened, and your excitement diminished. Make sure the only way you are comparing your work is via comps, or comparison titles, to work that you love or the work of your friends and contemporaries. Be realistic: your NaNoWriMo draft is not going to look like a professional published book, TikTok favourite or indie bestseller overnight. You are writing a draft and exercising your skills, not hitting the NYT bestseller list in one month!

Share your passion with your community – and have fun while writing with others – if you’re on the NaNoWriMo forums, you’ve already followed this advice! If you’re not, try it out – go make some friends and chat with fellow writers. If you’re not into public forums, share your excitement on social media, or sit down with a group of friends online or in person and share there. Look in your area for a local writing group, post about your WIP on your blog, or share it with only your closest friends and family. However you share your passion is the right way to share it – and trust me, you will feel all the better for spreading the love of writing and its powerful process. Others will be able to feel your enthusiasm and commiserate with you on your stressors. Writing does not happen in isolation, as much as we may like to think it does, so get out there and share, share, share.

It has to be said: every year, writers are inundated with stories of NaNoWriMo novels that became huge hits and bestselling books. These can either help you feel motivated or have you feeling discouraged at what lies ahead. Ultimately, though, the journey of those books and their authors may be different from yours. And that’s great! Remember that success did not happen overnight, and everyone defines success differently. No two views on what a successful author is are the same, but all of them are, in fact, a valid way to look at being a writer.

Some NaNoWriMo success stories include many traditionally published books, but dozens of indie authors utilize NaNoWriMo to help them get started or to continue their career. Indie-turned-trad author Travis Baldree, for example, wrote Legends & Lattes during NaNoWriMo and found success in self-publishing before being offered a book deal.

Whether you are writing for yourself, to kickstart your career as an indie author, or to land a book deal, taking this huge step forward is a huge achievement – congratulations from us at the KWL team!

NaNoWriMo Resources

NaNoWriMo has their own preparation guide, available here (with tons of resources and a schedule to help you out: NaNo Prep 101

What is NaNoWriMo? And How to Win in 2022

Ah, fall. Cozy sweaters, pumpkin spice lattes, and… writing marathons? While it may not be the first thing that comes to mind, for many people that’s exactly what this season signals. Every November, writers worldwide sign up for NaNoWriMo and take the next step in their writing journey: writing a novel in just 30 days!

Reedsy has a great article on prepping for NaNoWriMo, with some important reasons as to why you should try it out:

  1. It forces you to simply sit down, turn off your inner editor, and work.
  2. The practice of writing so much so fast can really improve your craft (even if it doesn’t always feel that way).
  3. NaNoWriMo turns a solitary struggle into a collective event; not only will you enjoy the camaraderie of fellow participants, but you’ll also learn from this knowledgeable writing community!

Want another connection to community and inspiration? Check out Write-minded, NaNoWriMo’s official inspiration podcast: listen here.

And, of course, listen to the Kobo Writing Life podcast for more insights and inspiration as well: check out our archives.

Whatever your goal is this year, whether it be 10k, 25k, 50k and beyond, or just to simply try it out and see what you can do, remember: this is an amazing first step and an excellent goal to set for yourself as a writer! Again, whether you are an experience author or are finally working towards your writerly dreams and aspirations, NaNoWriMo is an excellent way to get started.

Begin your NaNoWriMo 2022 journey here.

And, when you’re ready to publish, visit us again!

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