On Your Mark Get Set, NaNoWriMo!

Today kicks off NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) 2016!

As we kick off the march to 50,000 words remember: The world needs your novel. The world needs your short stories. Your poetry. Your essay. Your PhD thesis. And if nothing else resonates, keep a post-it that reminds you why you need your project. There’s a reason you’re starting a novel (or whatever piece(s) of writing you’ve set your sights on). Hold that reason close because life will try to get in the way this month. We still have school, we still have work, we still have families. Time hasn’t frozen for our 50,000 words.

That’s why NaNoWriMo is so precious: the work comes first.

As Bella Andre, said in her NaNoWriMo pep talk in 2013,

I truly believe that no matter where you are in your writing career, the book is always the most important thing. For a new writer, finishing your first book will likely require great focus and determination. All you want is to finally get to “The End.” But once your book is out in readers’ hands, the most important thing will always be your next book. I’ve seen again and again, in both my own career and others’, that the surefire way to create ongoing success is to write the next book. And the one after that. And the one after that.

Once I finally push myself to start a new book, I always find that’s when the focus finally comes. Fortunately, day by day as I sink deeper into the manuscript, it becomes far easier to block out that white noise and keep focus on the writing.

That’s why I love NaNoWriMo so much. Because it’s all about the book coming first.

Keep an eye out for this year’s pep talks (and a pep talk by Daniel José Older already available) on the NaNoWriMo website.