Have you outgrown NaNoWriMo?
2017 has been a whirlwind for me, writing-wise. I think I’ve grown more as a writer in the last six months than during the rest of my life. I’ve published eight books, edited an anthology, and generally gained a completely new mindset. And it’s only going to get better!
These changes have had an unforeseen side effect. In the months running up to NaNoWriMo this year, I realized I was less excited about the event. It got me thinking—have I outgrown NaNoWriMo? And if I have, are other writers out there in the same boat as me?
Below I’ve compiled a list of four signs that you have outgrown NaNoWriMo.
1. You kind of forget about it sometimes
You remember how when you first did NaNoWriMo it was always on your mind, even when you were sleeping, cooking, or doing other required non-NaNo activities? Sometimes it was positive (“I can’t wait to write this next scene!”), sometimes it was negative (“There’s NO WAY I can write 6,000 words by tomorrow!). Does it still feel that way, or do you often find yourself forgetting that NaNoWriMo is coming up at all?
For me, this was the first sign that I’ve outgrown NaNoWriMo. It wasn’t that I forgot about it, exactly. More accurately, it felt very low on my list of priorities. If I didn’t win, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal.
2. You’re diverting from your normal goals to participate
This may be a no-brainer, but if you’re missing deadlines from your normal writing schedule, you may want to examine whether doing NaNoWriMo is stunting your writing progress. (In my next post, I’ll talk about setting different NaNoWriMo goals that don’t make you sacrifice your current writing schedule.)
3. You regularly write more than 1,667 words a day already
1,667—that’s the average number of words you have to write per day to win NaNoWriMo. While this number seemed astronomical four years ago when I first did NaNoWriMo, I can write that much in an hour these days if I get into a groove. I don’t write every day (I have to spend some time revising and editing!), but on the days that I do, I try to at least write 3,000 words, if not more.
It seems almost unfair to win NaNoWriMo, like Usain Bolt winning a high school track meet. (Setting a higher word count goal for NaNoWriMo is something I talk about in the next post, What to do When You’ve Outgrown NaNoWriMo.)
By the way, if you’re interested in writing faster, I highly recommend reading Chris Fox’s 5,000 Words Per Hour, which is available for purchase on Amazon OR free on his site if you join his mailing list. 2,000 to 10,000 is another great title on writing more quickly.
4. Your writing peers aren’t participating in NaNoWriMo
They say you’re the average of your five closest friends. I think the same can be applied to your five closest writing peers. So what does it mean if you look around one day and realize that all of your friends are foregoing NaNoWriMo this year because they have deadlines or have to edit?
I’m not saying that you should follow the herd. If you find NaNoWriMo beneficial, then go for it!
Now, if you’ve found that some of these apply to you, don’t worry. I’ll give you some ideas on what to do in the next post, What to do When You’ve Outgrown NaNoWriMo.
What do you think, fair reader-writer? Have you encountered any signs that you’ve outgrown NaNoWriMo? Or maybe you think it’s impossible to outgrow it. Either way, let me know in the comments!