Here we are on the last day of August, with summer winding down and the kids returning to school. Right now I’m looking ahead to November, specifically NaNoWriMo.
I’ve written about NaNo before, but here’s a description in a nutshell: You write a first draft of a novel (50,000 words, which breaks down to 1,667 words per day) in 30 days, during the month of November. Hence, National Novel Writing Month = NaNoWriMo. Sounds daunting, right? Actually, it’s totally doable, and I should know. I’ve been participating in NaNo for years, and I always make my word count. My personal best is 66k in 19 days, but there were a few extenuating circumstances there: I didn’t pay my cable bill, and I had no internet for half the month. It was a wonder Facebook survived without me.
Lesson the first: reducing/eliminating distractions has a positive effect on word count.
The other tip I can’t stress enough is getting all of your pre-work out of the way before November 1. What is pre-work? Well, your outline, for one. Also, if your story concept needs any sort of research–be it places, dates, obscure languages–do it now. when November 1 hits you want to hit the ground running, not get bogged down reading semi-factual Wikipedia pages.
Lesson the second: research now, write like the dickens later.
Something else I do to keep me on track is engage a NaNo buddy. Your buddy can help you by critiquing plot points, helping you out when the story hits a rough patch, or just by commiserating and sheering you on. My NaNo buddy this year is Barry *waves* and we’ve already had a few chat sessions to talk about our projects. He’s working on a horror novel with a fricken’ AWESOME concept, and I’m going to cobble together a retelling of Medusa and other Greek myths. Which means that our projects will never, ever be in competition for the same venue. Side benefit!
Lesson the third: get a support group/person/houseplant. There’s no need to go it alone!
Writing 50,000 words in 30 days is tough, but any serious writer can make this goal. If you feel like you need a challenge to get yourself back on track, or just want to revel in writing something new, I say give NaNo a go. You might surprise yourself.
Oh, and that 66k I wrote in 19 days? It’s a real book – Changing Teams! Check it out here!
See that, if I can win NaNo, and get the resulting project published, you can too 🙂
Are you planning on participating in NaNoWriMo this year? Tell me in the comments!