For the month of November, I am participating in NaNoWriMo–National Novel Writing Month. This is a world-wide writing challenge where each participant attempts to write a 50,000 word rough-draft novel during the thirty days of November. There is a website with helpful information, resources, and forums for writers to connect with each other; they answer questions, make suggestions, and even joke around if they manage to find extra time! It’s really fun and exciting and a great way to get those creative juices flowing. The main idea behind NaNoWriMo is that when pressed by a looming deadline, writers can free themselves to write badly. It’s a first draft, after all, and in the immortal words of Hemingway, “The first draft of anything is shit.”
I’m not normally that crude, but the quote is too perfect to resist.
So, for the uninitiated, the four weeks of NaNoWriMo roughly break down as follows:
–On Your Mark, Get Set, WRITE!
Everyone is so excited to start, they jump in and just write as much as they can. They frequently exceed the normal 1,667 daily words needed to win, which is terrific! Because they’ll need that extra word buffer during…
–The Sophomore Slump
Many participants start to lose their initial momentum and drive. They aren’t as motivated. If they started off with a bunch of ideas, they may begin to run out and start mechanically writing to get the job done. If they lose track of where they are going, this is usually when that happens. To avoid this, I recommend having a loose outline or a list of a dozen or so writing prompts to fill in when the idea well begins running low.
–Passing the Halfway Mark!
Things begin to pick up again. If they lost the thread of the story, this is where things may begin to make sense again. Plot holes are filled, words are typed, and some even reach their deadlines a little early.
–The End is in Sight!
This is when everyone who hasn’t finished makes a final mad dash for the finish line by Midnight of the thirtieth! Many NaNoWriMo local groups have last minute meetups with word sprints to help participants reach their goals.
So, there you have it in a nutshell.
Last week I posted some pre-NaNoWriMo suggestions, but you can still do many of them if you are getting a late start. Also, don’t forget that when you are writing for long periods of time, you can develop neck and shoulder pain, so it’s a good idea to try to work as ergonomically as possible.
I may post a short podcast on this website, but it depends on time and my current tech.** If you get stuck, the NaNoWriMo site has forums for questions, forums with challenges as writing prompts, prize incentives for winners as motivation, and lots of other helpful tools. If there is a NaNoWriMo meetup in your area, I highly suggest you go; they are tons of fun and a great help.
Next week I will be posting about the Sophomore Slump. Until then, keep your inner editor locked away, have a lovely week, and happy novelling!
UPDATE: My Writing Niche 2.0 podcast, episode 2: NaNoWriMo Weeks 1 -2!
Download HERE .
*NaNoWriMo image taken from here.
**My previous podcast several years ago, My Writing Niche, was edited and even had a musical theme. This time, if I do podcast, it will be more informal.
***Also in the spirit of saving time to write on my Nano novel, I will be shamelessly reusing my introductory paragraph in each post this month, as well as pre-writing this month’s posts. In other words, I wrote this in October!