Getting Ready for NaNoWriMo
What is NaNoWriMo?
In short, NanoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. Every November, scores of dedicated writers make a commitment to writing a 50,000-word novel in one month. I’m sure that it sounds like an impossible task, which is why they don’t force you to sit down and write 50,000 words in a day. Instead, would-be novelists commit to writing 1,667 words a day to reach their goal. I always try to participate in NaNoWriMo, but always have a busy November to stop me. That shouldn’t stop you from giving it a try.
Why Does It Work?
- You aren’t competing against the other writers who are participating. Everyone is an author with a goal – to finish a novel in a month. There are so many writing communities to join out there to engage with others during a stressful November event. Something I’ve learned is that the connections made during this month are just as important as the goal itself.
- You’re working against a month-long clock. You only have 31 days to write 50,000 words. It’s hard to catch up if you miss a day, so you have to be wholly committed to the goal. Most people who do NaNoWriMo find themselves working harder and surpassing the daily goal for that reason alone.
- There’s an incentive to finishing NaNoWriMo. You’ve successfully completed a novel with over 50,000 words. You can move into the editing phase and prepare for publishing. As an author, is there any better incentive than that?
How Do I Prepare for NaNoWriMo?
- Get Signed Up: I’m not going to give you any room for excuses. If you’re serious about doing NaNoWriMo, you can sign up here and register your project before November 1st. Do this as soon as possible so you can start registering your writing goals.
- Schedule Your Time: It’s hard to find time to work on a novel every day of the month, so you need to plan ahead. Be honest and realistic with yourself – where are you going to find the time to do it? I find that I work best at night when I’m writing, primarily between 8 p.m. and 12 a.m. This is a hard time to commit for people, so I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone. Make sure that you can find a time and commit to it.
- Get To Know Your Characters: If this is your first novel, I would recommend taking the next ten days to figure out who you’re writing about. If you’re like me, the characters are really what direct the novel and where it goes. The more that you know before getting started, the easier time you’ll have avoiding writer’s block.
- Organize Your Story: Have a strong plan before you start writing, and you’ll be more productive. It doesn’t have to be 500 pages of information about your story. J.K. Rowling’s grid method is one of my favorite outlining methods, which can be found here, but there are hundreds of other ways to do it. It’s whatever is most comfortable for you.
- Take A Breath: It’s one month of writing 1,667 words a day. You can do this. I promise.
Get ready. Get signed up. November 1st is only ten days away.