I’m already counting down the days until November when National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo for short) will begin!
National Novel Writing Month is a competition to write a 50,000 word novel – all within the month of November. So you’ve got 30 days to churn out those ideas and type your heart out to complete your novel. But with the holidays starting that month and so many of life’s other demands competing for your attention, how do you succeed in such a challenge in such a short space of time?
Well, here are some of my how-to tips to get you through this crazy time:
April – August
1. If you’re interested in taking part in NaNoWriMo, start writing daily right now. No time like the present to get into that writer’s groove and take some time each day purge your creativity.
2. Take part in CampNaNoWriMo. This is just like NaNoWriMo, but it occurs in April and July. You have 50,000 words for this challenge as well, so if you are new to writing so much, use this as time to develop and hone your skills for November.
3. Sign up for NaNoWriMo here! Get used to the site, check out some of last year’s help pages to help get you started.
September and October
4. Only two months to go! Check back at the NaNoWriMo site for updated prep resources that will help get you ready for the big day on November 1st!
5. Start jotting down ideas of what you would like to write (if you don’t already have an idea in your head). I think this is important if you want to reach that 50,000 word goal in November because you could waste so much precious writing time trying to figure out what you want to write instead of actually writing. You have to remember that NaNoWriMo is about finishing a novel, so you can come fully prepared with an already formed idea or even a half completed work.
6. Alright, the big month is here! Start writing on day 1, no matter what. Get those words down. Don’t stop and edit. Don’t fret over the fact that something doesn’t make sense. This is not National Novel Editing Month, so we’ll worry about polishing it later.
7. Do get sleep. No one is productive pulling all-nighters.
8. Give yourself a break. Stretch, exercise, go out with friends – your mind will thank you for it.
9. Participate in write-ins! There are plenty going on around in your community and many of them are for novel writers completing the NaNoWriMo challenge this month. Get feedback from others, learn new writing tips, have fun, be creative!
10. Keep track of your word count and no cheating on the word count, please!
Halfway Through November:
11. Almost there! Having second thoughts about your story? Just keep plugging away. Keep coming up with new ideas and new characters for it. The important thing is that you have sat down everyday so far this month to flesh this thing out, so no stopping now!
Last day! Please stop at 11:59 pm on November 30th and enter in your word count. If you got to 50k words (or soared beyond that), congratulations! Your novel is complete! If you didn’t reach the goal, still give yourself a pat on the back – you took the step to achieve your goal of completing a novel and that is what is important.