NaNoWriMo? Is that some new dance move? No. National Novel Writing Month is the annual event that brings writers together to attempt to write a novel (or at least 50,000 words of one) in the month of November.

Both of the PageCurl founders have done NaNo multiple times. We’ve won (which just means we completed our 50,000 words). We’re huge fans of NaNoWriMo. But, we also realize that NaNo isn’t for everyone. If you’re trying to decide whether or not to participate in NaNo, here’s a handy little guide to help you make your decision.

You should do NaNo if…

  • You don’t have a lot of support around your writing and you think a community would help you
  • You need something to jump start your writing again after a break
  • You AREN’T planning on publishing your NaNo project the week after NaNo ends (more on that in a later post)
  • You’re a brand new writer and want to see what you’re capable of (but remember the bullet point right above)

You shouldn’t do NaNo if…

  • The idea of writing 50,000 words in a month fills you with so much terror, you can’t see straight
  • You’ll have to abandon a project with good momentum in favor of a NaNo project
  • You get sloppy if you write quickly
  • You’re only doing NaNo because it’s your “duty” as a writer

These are pretty general statements, but let us try to explain a bit. NaNoWriMo is a fantastic program. It brings together writers all over the world, gives them tremendous support, and creates a community. NaNo helped both of the PageCurl founders complete several manuscripts. We needed NaNo for support and motivation.

But not every writer should participate in NaNo. There’s a lot of pressure involved…especially if you’re a competitive person and can’t stand the idea of not winning. After all, which would you prefer? To complete a thoughtful, well-written, and beautiful novel? Or to write 50,000 words that you might have to completely scrap?

Now, we’re not saying that every NaNo participant is going to have to scrap their 50,000 words at the end of the month. Many won’t. But there’s a finesse that can come from taking your time with your words that is often lost when you try to write quickly–or at least a lot quicker than your norm.

You aren’t required to do NaNo simply because you’re an author. You’re also not required to FINISH NaNo if you start. What a lot of people don’t understand is that NaNoWriMo is a journey. You don’t have to finish all 50,000 words. You can participate in the forums, the twitter chats, and the live events in  your community without finishing NaNo. All the benefits, none of the (potential) downsides.

So should you participate in NaNoWriMo? Only you can answer that question. But whether you’re planning to win or planning to sit at the sidelines and cheer your fellow writers on, PageCurl is going to be right there with you. We’ve got a great lineup of NaNo content coming up, and we can’t wait to share it with you.

Let’s end with a question. How best can PageCurl support YOU in your NaNoWriMo decision making?