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It’s nowhere near November, a.k.a. “National Novel Writing Month,” or NaNoWriMo for short, but I was thinking about it today, and while many literary agents (or so I’ve heard) despise the month and its subsequent onslaught of not-yet-ready submissions come every December 1, it really is a great way to force yourself to get that first draft on paper, which is possibly the hardest part. (Well… let’s just say the first of many hard parts).

What NaNoWriMo can do for you:

1. Force you to turn off your inner critic and just write

2. Make your story shape up, fast, even if you didn’t know where it was going

3. Give you lots of street cred with your friends. From turning down that after-work drink because you’ve “got to work on your novel” to, for the rest of your life, being able to say you wrote the first draft of your novel in a month. Street cred, people, street cred. Never mind the fact that it wasn’t published until 5 years, 7 rewrites and 467 rejections later. Leave that part out. You wrote 50,000 words in a month! Suddenly Mt. Everest is looking a lot more doable.

What NaNoWriMo can’t do for you:

Leave you with a coherent first draft. It might be shaping up nicely in your head and sort of make sense on paper, especially after a glass of wine, but expect a lot of work to follow. Possibly years of work. But if it’s a good project, it’ll be worth it.

Don’t forget, March is coming up, and that’s NaNoWriMo’s smart sister (brother?), National Novel Editing Month (or NaNoEdMo). Enough with the silly abbreviations, already!

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