No, NaNoWriMo is not some kind of new dance craze. It’s National Novel Writing Month and it starts November 1. Insane and mentally challenged writers everywhere commit to writing a 50,000 word novel during the 30 days of November. That’s right. A novel in 30 days. “It can’t be done!” say the masses. “Blasphemy!” Yeah? Well it can be done. In fact, yours truly did it last year and I completed the novel 4 days early. So there.
“But George, I’m a freelance writer. You know, non-fiction, keyword rich, SEO, magazine article kind of stuff.”
And my response is:
If you think that writing a bit of fiction has no bearing on your freelance writing skills then I think you need to rethink your thinking on the matter.
NaNoWriMo can help your non-fiction writing and here’s why I think that’s the case. Writing a novel in 30 days is damned hard work. It takes focus, perseverance and getting the hell out of the way so the writing can happen. When you need to produce about 2000 words a day, every day, you learn what pressure really is. You learn to not sweat the small stuff and pound away at the keys, hell or high water. You learn a valuable lesson in time management. There is no room for procrastination. If you are to stay on track, you have to write – no excuses.
Can you see how this may help your freelance writing?
Also, writing a novel in 30 days teaches you to get out of the way a little bit in order to let the writing happen. Sometimes when we over-think what needs to happen, we stall. We get stuck in a loop and sometimes we can’t figure out how to get out of the damned thing. We block. Let me tell you a little piece of my Nano story:
When I started, the only thing I had was a title and a potential list of characters. No real plot, no outline, no research. Nada. Bup-kiss. Zero. The first few days were downright scary as I tried to force a story along. Then, about three days into it I relaxed and the story took over. It went places I had not even imagined. My characters said and did things that surprised the hell out of me. In short, I became the channel through which the story flowed and I could only do that after I let go.
Think what your non-fiction writing could be like if you were able to get into that kind of zone where you stopped trying so hard to drive the bus and instead sat in the back seat. Keyword rich articles? No problem. They may be a bit of a challenge at first but if you’ve trained yourself to get out of the way your creative writer will emerge and handle the details.
I’m not saying this is easy, and I’m not saying it’s for everyone. What I am saying is that if you truly commit yourself to doing NaNoWriMo, you may find that your freelance writing skills may be enhanced in ways you never thought possible.
To find out more about NaNoWriMo, go to www.nanowrimo.org and check it out.
On a final note, if you sign up, be sure and come back here and let us know so we can cheer you on.