30 days. 50,000 words. 351,489 participants. 40,423 winners.
Is it worth it?
I’d like to respond with a resounding, overwhelming yes. NaNo is so precious to me as a writer, and a person. When I was younger I heard stories of the miraculous word-trek and the few survivors of its challenges. Someday I knew I wanted to finish it, and I hope this year will be the year.
But my personal connection to NaNo is beside the point. What I’d like to address here is why NaNoWriMo is so important to the writing community—and those who may not yet be affiliated with it.
NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, gives hundreds of thousands of writers across the globe the opportunity to write a novel—in 30 days. A monumental feat by any measure, certainly, but here is my core philosophy: everybody has a book within them. What better opportunity than a contest, a great event, to bring out that novel?
It’s equal parts terrifying and inviting to newcomers and veterans alike. It forces writers to take that time necessary to work their magic. It encourages community in an activity that is inherently performed solo. Most importantly, it encourages writing, one of the most beautiful art forms in the world.
I simply can’t imagine anything more magical than hundreds and thousands of writers making their literary dreams come true all at the same time. The bonds that are formed are tremendously precious, the art that is created divine in the sense that it is written so quickly that every emotion is forced onto the page and left black and wet by candlelight.
People from all walks of life, all shades of skin, all genders and sexualities can participate, assuring it’s never to early nor late to follow your dreams. And with over 10% of writers completing the task, this devoted community also proves that it’s very, very possible to achieve these dreams. And that’s what writing is: a dream.
Writing brings story into the world, and story is the cerebral foundation of mankind. Everything around us is story, if we’re able to acknowledge it. What is more beautiful than begetting more life to life? What is more beautiful than changing perceptions, creating worlds, changing lives, with language?
This is the basis of NaNoWriMo. It’s so much more than a challenge—it’s a dream come true.