Now that October’s here, many people are waiting eagerly for November. While some scramble to finish up any works in progress, others try to outline their brand new story ideas down to the last detail, or else try to come up with a plot before the first of November. Why? Because NaNoWriMo.
If you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, here’s a brief intro:
NaNoWriMo (short for National Novel Writing Month) is a writing event during which people from all over the world attempt to write at least 50,000 words in 30 days. That’s impossible, some of you might say, but I’ve seen people write more than 900,000 words!
Still, it’s not an easy process. I’ve participated in NaNo four times and each one felt harder than the next. My winning streak broke last year, but I’m determined to start a new one this year. I’ve managed to pick up a few things though, which I would like to share with you.
- Don’t take the fun out of it. Treating writing like something you have to do will make it seem like a chore and you might tire of it pretty quickly. That happened to me once. I was so focused on the idea of winning that I ultimately burned myself out two days before the end of NaNo.
- Get yourself a buddy. Try to connect with other people who will be attempting NaNo. Watching their progress and rising word counts will motivate you to write as well!
- Plan for your 1,667 daily words only. In order to finish on time, you’re required to write a minimum of 1,667 words per day. That doesn’t sound too bad, does it? When you sit down to write, only look forward to that number. Setting higher numbers might make you anxious about not being able to make it.
- Write with others. One thing my fiancé and I do is time ourselves. We agree to write for a specific time slot then compare word counts at the end. It’s really helpful to know you’re not doing this alone.
- Don’ t look back. I mean it. Don’t even think about going back to the previous pages and correcting anything. Not only will you lose time, but you will also lose momentum. Just keep going. There will be time for editing later.
- Use word tricks. If you’re short on time and would really like to increase your word count, there are several tricks to be used, including writing numbers in word form and expanding all contractions.
- Take advantage of NaNoPlaMo (or October). Personally I don’t like to plan my stories, but I know many people do. Use October to your benefit and plan your novel ahead of time. It will prove helpful in the long run!
While it is true that 50,000 words is a pretty small number when it comes to standard word counts, they still form a huge chunk of your novel… a chunk that might’ve taken you several months to write if it weren’t for NaNo. And don’t forget the prizes! I plan to take full advantage of my CreateSpace discount this year.
Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? Do you have a battle plan? Would you like to be my buddy? =D