NaNoWriMo has a lot of positive points, it also has some draw backs. For some people it’s a fun one time stunt. For others it just doesn’t work. For me it is a way to jump start a new manuscript or test an idea.
A few Pros for those who kept at it all month
1.) If you have persevered over your fight to 50k words in the month of November you have, if not a finished rough draft, a substantial piece of work. You also have bragging rights and a few prizes and coupons for winning. Give yourself a pat on the back.
2.) You have shown you have a good work ethic. If you finished NaNo or met your own word goal, you have shown a strong dedication to writing. Most people can’t come away from November with 50,000 words if they don’t write almost everyday of the month. Your win has shown that you can log the butt in chair time needed to improve your craft.
3.) You have probably increased your writing speed. Maybe you are just a faster typist now, or maybe you are getting better at moving the image/words in your head to the keyboard. Maybe you just managed to turn off your inner editor. No matter how you did it, you have increased your speed. Writing faster can come in handy when you hit a scene that demands to be written before you forget the details.
4.) Another great benefit of NaNo is learning to push through the hard parts of writing. It could be writing a scene you really didn’t want to write. It could be working through the ‘I suck and no one will ever want to read this story’ phase. You have tackled some of hard parts of writing head on and are a stronger writer because of it.
5.) Hopefully you found support and community through NaNo. Some of my best friends are the people I write with every November. They cheer me on, and later they become my critique partners. For me the greatest gift NaNo has given me is my writing group.
A few Cons about NaNoWriMo:
1.) NaNo focuses on quantity not quality. The words you’ve written are going to be pretty rough. Most of us are not professional writers and do NaNo in our already limited spare time. The editing time on a NaNo project is likely to be longer than the editing time on a project where you took your time.
2.) It is very likely that NaNo took over your life. You may have forgotten what your significant other looks like. Maybe your friends are upset because you haven’t hung out with them all month. NaNo can take a real toll on relationships. Don’t forget to put some time into your relationships now.
3.) NaNo is so intense it can cause burn out. Maybe you would have only written 10,000 words this month without NaNo, but you probably would have an easier time getting something written in December.
For me the pros outweigh the cons of NaNo, but I know that isn’t the case for everyone. Is NaNo worth if for you? If you did it this year will you tackle it again next year?