NaNoWriMo is right around the corner. For those of you who don’t know what that is, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writer’s Month. It’s a fun, by the seat of your pants writing challenge that began in 1999 with just 21 participants. Now a decade later, NaNoWriMo averages over a 100,000 participants in a no-hold barred, write like mad for 30 days adventure to create a book from scratch. That’s write, NaNoWriMo is all about the writing, but it’s also about the connections and relationships you make with other writers going through the same things you are.
I’ve participated officially in NaNoWriMo once, but unofficially, I’ve been following it since 2001 or thereabouts. November is the chosen month for NaNoWriMo; writing begins on the 1st and runs through the 30th with writers giving away prizes to other writers and more as a way to encourage success. For some writers, it’s also about competing with friends (friendly competition only, mind you) in order to drive word counts up. If you can successfully commit 30 days to NaNoWriMo, you can walk away with the bones of your novel or at least a solid first draft.
But How Do Readers Benefit?
As you can see, there are a lot of benefits for writers, but what about readers? Well here are five ways that you, the reader benefit from our novel writing frenzy:
You Meet New Authors
A lot of published authors birthed their first works during NaNoWriMo and return year after year to participate, partially for discipline, but also because it’s fun. Readers who are following one author that they like may discover other authors. Many NaNoWriMo participants are already published authors, so don’t be afraid to shop a writer’s name around to see what they have on their backlist.
Be Involved in the Process
Want to cheer on a favorite writer? Want to get a glimpse of what they are working on? NaNoWriMo writers responsible only to themselves, but they are just as likely to post clips, snips and excerpts – if not their entire drafting process – for feedback. While not quite the TextNovel experience, it’s definitely a way for you to get involved, let your author know what you think. You might be amazed to see new characters and old favorites come to life during the process.
Writers love to run contests and November is a fantastic month for it, particularly because Christmas is right around the corner and they are writing like mad. You can win all kinds of swag.
Remember that friendly competition? Well this year, Twitter will be involved and there’s already a friendly competition being waged between Sapphire Blue Publishing writers using the hashtag #SBPCageMatch where the writers will be talking smack, posting word counts and even teasing about their works throughout the month.
New Books and Possibly New Authors
Every NaNoWriMo produces new works and published authors every year. So whether you follow along or not, you’ll see new works from it eventually. The first draft, in many cases, can be the hardest and with NaNoWriMo’s resources, support and structure, writers who didn’t think they could, suddenly find themselves making it.
So check out NaNoWriMo this year. Check out whether your favorite author is participating or if any author you know is. Turn out to support them and cheer them on. The actual writing process may not be a spectator sport, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the spectacle of writers gone wild.
You can check out my NaNoWriMo updates all month long on twitter (HVLong) and here at the Daily Dose. In fact, you’ll find the first 500 words of my NaNoWriMo challenge published this Saturday!