It’s November and that means it’s officially National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short! If you’re a writer, you’ve no doubt heard this term before. And if you’re reading this post, you’re most likely wondering what the heck NaNoWriMo is.
Beginning November 1st, authors plan on writing 50,000 words by the end of the month. A lot of writers plan to write a specific number of words per day so they’ll total the 50,000 words by November 30th. Others prefer to write as much as they can, when they can, to meet their goal. There’s no one way to participate in NaNoWriMo. You can do it for fun or in a more serious way by signing up at the NaNoWriMo website. After creating a profile, you can share info about your novel, track your progress, and gain new tips for writing.
What began back in 1999 with around 20 participants, called “Wrimos”, has grown into hundreds of thousands of writers participating in this annual event. How fun is that? By being a part of this event every November, writers get to support one another, find daily motivation, meet new friends and contacts, and learn a lot in a short period of time. And, really, 30 days is a short amount of time to write! We all have busy lives, whether with work, family, friends, hobbies, etc. It’s hard sometimes to find the time to sit down and write a book, isn’t it? Here are my tips for surviving NaNoWriMo successfully.
It’s important to note that while writing during this month, you just write! Don’t worry about grammar or plot holes just yet. This should be a rough first draft only.
Second, a lot of writers prefer to prepare in advance by coming up with an idea of what they’re going to write, including a story line, summary, title, and sometimes even an outline. If your book will be longer than 50,000 words, that’s fine because the goal is to write 50,000 words by November 30th. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t add on more words afterwards. To put it in perspective, YA books are around 55,000 words total, and adult fiction books are around 90,000 words total.
Decide ahead of time when you are going to set aside the time to write. Whether you can do this daily or only during certain days and times, make sure you can dedicate enough time to meet your goal of 50,000 words by November 30th.
If you’re serious about participating in NaNoWriMo, make sure other people in your life know this. You may want to let your family and friends know that during November, you’ll be trying your hardest to meet your goal and could use their help. I don’t know about you, but I find it really nice to get a mug of hot cocoa when I’m deep into my writing and haven’t looked up from my computer screen for a while. It’s also really great to be asked how my progress is going or whenever someone offers encouragement.
Connect with other writers! Join groups or follow other authors on social media so you can get an idea of how others are doing during this process. Sometimes it’s a relief to know you’re not the only one fighting writers’ block or struggling with part of your book.
ENJOY THE EXPERIENCE:
Don’t forget that you’re writing for fun! This NaNoWriMo experience should be enjoyable. Otherwise, what are you doing it for? I mean, really. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to keep doing it. No one will fault you if it’s simply not for you. We all get frustrated at times, sure. But if you really are not enjoying being a part of NaNoWriMo, then just go back to your regular writing schedule. If you do like it, then keep going! You can do it! Stay motivated and do your best.
Personally, whenever I’m writing I need to be comfortable and in the right mindset. For me, this means wearing comfortable clothes, a soft blanket, my notebook that I jot my ideas and notes in, and limited distractions. Below are some visuals! (Click on the photos for additional info).
Whether you make it to the end of November or not, there’s no doubt you’ll learn a lot about yourself as a writer. Maybe you’ll find out what your limitations are, how you really work under pressure with a 30-day deadline, or what your writing strengths are. Either way, I hope you give it a shot and have fun!