NaNoWriMo: Say What?

I can’t believe it’s already November. As much as I love the summer months, I also love the holidays so it’s partially welcome news on my part. November is also National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo. If you haven’t heard of it yet, it’s exactly as it sounds. Between November 1st-30th, writers challenge themselves to put together 50,000 word novels. NaNoWriMo was founded in 1999 and has grown from 21 participants to 175,000 last year. The goal is to write until you finish. NaNoWriMo proves that writing isn’t just an individual endeavor- a little support, encouragement, and conversation with others goes a long way. Participants can share their progress with others on the website. You get acknowledgement when you reach your goals and a little push when you fall short. It also encompasses the importance of just sitting down to write and nothing else. The hardest part of writing a novel is the first draft. A first draft is never ever perfect. Setting a deadline makes sure you get the first step out of the way so you can spend more time making it a masterpiece, instead of thinking up a masterpiece.

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Participating in NaNoWriMo is no easy feat and could be overwhelming just thinking about it. But, just think of all you can accomplish when you set your mind to something for thirty whole days. I think you will be surprised at what you can do. Writers doubt themselves a lot since the goals they set are often huge. Try breaking down your goals and creating deadlines for each step. Let’s start with writing a complete FIRST draft in 30 days. Don’t worry about anything else.

Here are a few tips from International Business Times to have a successful writing month:

  1. Just focus on writing a draft. That’s all we need, nothing else.
  2. Spend some time planning. How do you want to attack your novel? Do you want to plot it out first? Or write on the fly?
  3. Make your writing a priority. This might mean declining a few Friday night cocktails or Sunday football game parties. Remember, it’s just for one month.
  4. Create daily writing goals that will get you to your 50,000 words. You might want to write the same amount of words every day or write more on certain days of the week and less on days you know you are busier. Whatever works for you, just make it work.
  5. Create a schedule. When will you write? How long will you write for? Will you do it all in one sitting or break it up throughout the day?
  6. Figure out where to keep your writing. What programs will you use? Google Docs? Dropbox? Pick whatever is going to be easiest and more accessible to you.
  7. Don’t write to get published, write to write. The goal is to get to 50,000 words- nothing else.
  8. Whenever you start doubting yourself, just keep writing.
  9. Edit sober [see #10]. In my opinion, I wouldn’t do a whole lot of editing. Just write.
  10. Drink wine! There’s actually a lot of truth to the effects of opening yourself up. It doesn’t need to be alcohol, but do something that relaxes you and frees up your thought process. Whether its listening to soothing music or eating a certain type of food. When we let our guard down, the possibilities are endless.

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Good luck and write on!

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