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National Novel Writing Month: Writing as a Healing Tool

November is National Novel Writing Month! Each year, writers across the country dedicated this time to focusing on their crafts. Also known as NaNoWriMo, most participants are those seeking to break into the writing industry, though writers of any skill level may participate. This also includes authors for any genre, ranging from fiction to non-fiction and autobiographies.

NaNoWriMo isn’t limited to those seeking a literary career! Even hobbyists who enjoy the written word join in on the fun, challenging themselves to focus on improving their writing or hit certain goals. Though the premise of this month is to complete a novel-length work in just one month, the ultimate goal is to flex one’s creative muscles and explore self-expression through writing.

Writing in Recovery

As someone in recovery, you have a story to share, one that may help someone else find their way on their own journey. Sharing that story can be an incredibly healing, cathartic experience, but it may be difficult to vocalize. Writing also helps one physically release the burden of your past. By committing the words to paper, they no longer have to weigh heavy on your shoulders. 

Even if this story is one you aren’t ready to share yet, putting it into words is the first step to moving forward in a safe and healthy way. Writing and other forms of creative expression can help with emotional processing 

National Novel Writing Month is a great opportunity to finally put your story in writing. Whether you choose a raw, earnest recounting of the formative events in your life, or you channel your past experiences into more creative storytelling, writing is an incredibly cathartic and healing practice. 

NaNoWriMo: How to Get Started

It may be a few days into November already, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to get in on the fun! Dedicating time each day to writing. Some find it easiest to do that first thing in the morning, while others prefer to wind down and spend time writing before bed. Either way, consistency is key. Even if you don’t get much done, taking the time to focus on the craft through November is a great way to hone your skills and express yourself.

If you are participating in National Novel Writing Month, here are a few key points to consider:

  • Pacing yourself: writing an entire book in a month is a challenge, it’s okay if it takes a bit longer.
  • Write first, edit later: the most common roadblock writers face is trying to make the first draft absolutely perfect, but that’s not what first drafts are for. Get the story down, then clean it up with editing. If you’re uncertain, ask a friend or family member to help you make it coherent. Writing groups are also available for friendly, non-judgemental critique and editing help!
  • Keep your mental health and recovery a priority: delving into past traumas can be triggering, especially in early recovery. Keep your sobriety as the first priority in this and all other endeavors. Nothing is worth falling back into those old, toxic habits.

This National Novel Writing Month, use your story to inspire others.