NaNoWriMo is Nearly Upon Us: Are You Participating?

nano_09_blk_support_120x90November is almost here, and that means it’s also nearly time for NaNoWriMo. That’s National Novel Writing Month, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the abbreviated term. It’s an event run by Office of Letters and Light, a not-for-profit organization that takes as its primary focus encouraging young people to write through various education-based programs.

The goal is for participants to write an entire 50,000-word novel, from start to finish, within the space of a single month. Sound challenging? It should, unless you’re Stephen King, who seems able to match that kind of production without even meaning to. It’s free to enter, although donations are encouraged to help the organization pursue its charitable goals.

For the rest of us, that’s a tall order, hence the benefit of giving it a shot if you’re a writer working online, or even if you’re not and you just have some writerly tendencies. NaNoWriMo may seem like an immense distraction from work, and it is, but that’s part of what makes it such a unique and valuable opportunity for those for whom the written word is professionally relevant.

For one, it puts you under an extreme deadline, but one that’s distant enough from the project start point that you can actually create a workable, multi-parted plan in advance to tackle the task. Having a definite start and definite finish isn’t something that you’ll always have when you’re working for a client, but being able to work within those kinds of strict confines comes in very handy.

It also gets your creative juices flowing. If your job is to write about one thing day after day, it can be pretty easy to fall into a rut, and who could blame you? Participating in something fun like NaNoWriMo will not only help you escape from the monotony of the daily grind, but it should also have a positive effect on your writing as a whole, both personal and professional.

Have you participated in NaNoWriMo in the past? Do you think you’ll take part this year? Do you think creative writing is a valuable tool for professional writers?