Read Up on NaNoWriMo
Check out the coverage we’ve done on NaNoWriMo in the past, as well as other great articles, and learn more about National Novel Writing Month.
10 Ways to Rock NaNoWriMo
Get the Most Out of National Novel Writing Month
November is National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo. That nickname didn’t spring up out of nowhere—NaNoWriMo is the product of a nonprofit of the same name that promotes writing and creativity, making it one of my favorite programs EVER. According to their mission statement, “National Novel Writing Month believes in the transformational power of creativity. We provide the structure, community, and encouragement to help people find their voices, achieve creative goals, and build new worlds—on and off the page.”
NaNoWriMo encourages writers to participate in a 30-day challenge. The goal? Write 50,000 words in the month of November. Tens of thousands of people have participated since the program’s creation, and many of them have gone on to complete manuscripts, make great writing friends, or eventually sell books. Amazing!
Now, 50,000 words in 30 days can sound daunting (especially if you’re planning to spend a whole weekend in a Thanksgiving-dinner-induced food coma). But we’ve come up with ten ways to make the most out of NaNoWriMo and to help you reach your goal.
1. Make an outline first.
After you’ve polished off your Halloween candy, use the sugar-high to make an outline for your book. It doesn’t have to be super detailed or set in stone, but crafting a beginning, middle, and end of your story will help you fill in the gaps more quickly.
2. Set smaller goals.
Unless you don’t work, have kids, or need to walk the dog, it’s unlikely you’re going to hit 50K in your first week. Instead of staring down that huge number, give yourself smaller numbers. Your daily average needs to be about 1,667 words, which means you need to write about one chapter per day. Now that sounds doable!
3. Create time in your schedule.
It can be hard to imagine when you will find the time to write 50,000 words. (Like I said…weekend-long Thanksgiving food coma.) You know when your best time for writing is—early in the morning, midday, late at night—so find ways to create time for yourself. Stock up on easy-to-make meals for dinner. Save your Netflix binge watching for December. Try to eek out a little bit of time on your lunch hour. Maybe even wake up a tiny bit earlier (gasp!). All those minutes will add up.
4. Sign up.
Don’t NaNoWriMo alone! Sign up FOR FREE here and enjoy the wonderful world of NaNoWriMo, complete with great articles, success stories, and more.
5. Get involved.
The entire purpose of NaNoWriMo is to create a community of writers. Take advantage of that! Once you’ve signed up, look for a local group of writers that you can meet with to help cheer you on.
6. Have an accountabilibuddy. (Yes, it’s a word.)
If you’re low on free time and can’t make NaNoWriMo meet-ups, sign up for the challenge with a friend. Keep each other posted on your progress, and give each other necessary motivation, such as, “If we make it to 20,000 words, we’ll go get pumpkin spice lattes.”
7. Be social.
Yes, social media is the devil that distracts writers from writing. But…it can also help you connect with fellow writers and enjoy the experience together. For great tips and advice, check out the #NaNoCoach or #NaNoWriMo hashtags, and be sure to follow the NaNoWriMo Facebook and Twitter pages.
8. Edit later.
Strange advice coming from an editor, but in the world of NaNoWriMo, editing only slows you down. Think of these 50,000 words as a rough first draft, and allow yourself to make mistakes. The most important thing is getting the words down. (Just remember that come December 1, it is editing time!)
9. Understand the end product.
Your manuscript is not going to be ready to send to publishers or agents on December 1. Let me say that again: Your manuscript is not going to be ready to send to publishers or agents on December 1. This month is not for creating a completely perfect first draft—it’s for writing. So don’t expect perfection, and don’t expect to get a six-figure book deal the following month. Use this time for creativity, and in the end, you will be impressed with what you’ve accomplished.
10. Write something you’re passionate about.
Any writer will tell you that it’s tough to put words to paper when you’re not in love with a project. It’s even harder to crank out page after page, night after night, when you’re not feeling enthusiastic about your story. So use this month to write something you love, because that’s what NaNoWriMo is all about!
Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? Best of luck! And if you haven’t signed up yet, there’s no time like the present: nanowrimo.org/sign_up
Jillian Bergsma Manning is a contributing editor for Independent Publisher. She loves reading and writing but not arithmetic. Follow her on Twitter at @LillianJaine or on her blog at www.editorsays.com.