Why November is the Perfect Time to Write Your Story

 Since middle school, the week before November has always been filled with Halloween themed movies, baking shows and novels. Well, that and frantic NaNoWriMo preparations. The first time I heard of this event, I was twelve or thirteen years old and immediately, I ambitiously decided to try it myself. 

If you’ve never heard of NaNoWriMo, it stands for “National Novel Writing Month”, an event that takes place every November. During this event, participants attempt to write a novel (or as much of a novel as they can manage) in the month of November. The goal wordcount they advertise is 50,000 words (roughly 1, 667 words a day), so that’s what I initially committed to! I was eager to write, but after a week, it was not going as I’d planned. By that point I was behind on my word goal, didn’t know where the story was going, and had run out of motivational Halloween candy. 

Despite this bad first experience, I’ve attempted it every year since then, each time with a new plot and a new approach. Short stories? Yes, I’ve tried it. Multiple points of view? Yes, I’ve attempted it a few times. Planning extensively? Yup. Despite these failed attempts, each time I try, I learn something new about myself and the writing process. Most years I don’t decide to do NaNoWriMo until right before it starts (think along the lines of me madly scribbling in a notebook right before midnight on Halloween). However, I’m never upset at having tried.


Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

When it comes to National Novel Writing Month, most people either really love it, or they really hate it. Some see it as an exciting opportunity to set a crazy goal, push themselves, and write all sorts of things they otherwise would never have written. Others see it as an opportunity to focus on quantity, instead of quality, with a couple hundred thousand people producing rushed work. While I do agree most of what I write during this time is in fact terrible, it’s something terrible I otherwise would never have written, and there’s some value in that. 

Numerous published works even started out as NaNoWriMo projects! Novels like “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern, and “Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen, started this way. Some YA ( “Young Adult”) fiction also started here, with novels like “Fangirl” by Rainbow Rowell, “Cinder”, “Scarlet” and “Cress” by Marissa Meyer, and “Again, but Better” by Christine Riccio, all getting started with this challenge. November can be a great time to start your story, or at least start getting it down on paper… You never know when it might turn into something great!

Whether you decide to do it or not, just know you get to choose what you write, how much, or if anyone is  ever  going to see it. If you want to scrap the idea of a wordcount all together, go for it! You could do daily dairy entries, poems, or work through a novel at your own pace. The most enjoyable part is being a piece of the bigger, very encouraging community that is NaNoWriMo, where everyone from twelve year-olds, to a college students, to published authors all get to write together.