What’s NaNoWriMo? + Tips To Stay on Track
I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month! I’ve wanted to write a book since I started reading from the classic literature section at age 12. Writing is what led me to start this blog, and while I love my how-to posts and tips and tricks, I want to stretch my creativity to a new project.
Don’t worry, I’ll still be blogging on my normal schedule. (Monday’s and Thursday’s, HOLLA!) However, I’ll be doing a lot more writing. 1,667 words is the goal for each day to be exact!
So, what is National Novel Writing Month? (Or NaNoWriMo for short and fun.)
National Novel Writing Month is dedicated to the month of November, and this is when aspiring novelists all over the world come together and commit to one whole month of working on their novel each day.
If you’re someone who likes a good kick in the butt, this is for you. I often find that I can stick to something if it’s for a short period of time. If I know I need to do 30 sit-ups every day for 30 days, I can do that a lot better than just trying to say “I should do more sit-ups.” See what I mean?
For NaNoWriMo, each person gets to work on their own piece. It could be a YA novel, a memoir, an encyclopedia on cats, or a collection of poetry. It’s whatever your heart desires!
A novel as long as The Great Gatsby is 50,000 words, so that’s why the goal of 1,667 words a day stands. (That’s about 4 pages double spaced….wow.) However, feel free to set your own goal. Maybe you’re looking to write something a little smaller like a little self-help pamphlet or a children’s book. Adjust your daily goal accordingly!
Are there rules?
Not rules per se, but there’s a typical way about things. We’ve already covered the “1,667 words a day” thing, but what else? Well, one “rule” if you want to be particular is, NO EDITING. And this is hard. (From what I’ve heard.) The way I’m trained, I edit after every draft. “Write hot, edit cold” is what has been drilled into me from my early days of creative writing to my upper level college courses in copywriting. But for NaNoWriMo, just write hot! You won’t be able to meet your goal if you self-edit. Save that for December!
Do I have to show people what I’m writing?
Nope! Totally up to you! I’ll be sharing a couple excerpts and teasers over on my Tumblr blog. However, I don’t have an exact timeline for the completion of this novel (or really any real, tangible direction if we’re being honest), so I won’t be airing it out for everyone to see at this point in time. I’m part of a writing club and I will be taking my pieces there to be critiqued every couple weeks or so. I also am participating in write-ins with my writing club where we meet together in a coffee house and just sit and work on our novels.
If you’d like to see if there’s a writing group in your area, I highly suggest doing a search on Meetup.com (not sponsored, just have had a great expereince) or checking your university’s Registered Student Organizations (club) databases to see if there’s something that would be good for you to join.
How do I stay on track for National Novel Writing Month?
Hold yourself accountable
Put a sticky note on your mirror, your laptop, or your fridge reminding yourself that you need to write! I’ve got it plugged into my Erin Condren agenda at least a million times, because I know I check that every day.
Do it with a friend
Like I said, I’m part of a writing group that meets every other week, so I have plenty of people who are in the same boat as I am. We can get together, talk about our writing, get critiques from each other, and just keep each other motivated. Maybe reach out to other bloggers, friends that you know enjoy writing, or again, search for a writing group near you.
Find a spot you love to write in
I have a couple. For me, I feel most creative and comfortable in either a library or a quiet coffeeshop. I have my favorites around where I live and they are all within a 10 minute drive of my place, so I don’t feel like I have to go totally out of my way to go there and write for a bit. And since I always have my laptop and charger on me, I can always head there after class and just get an hour or two of writing in. Find your spot!
Read from your favorite author for good motivation
Recently, I decided to watercolor one of my favorite quotes from Sylvia Plath, a writer I really admire for her bravery and beautiful words. I have it hanging in my apartment now, and when I read it, I’m reminded of how wonderful it is to create beautiful works that can inspire others. I also love to read, and always have books in my bookshelf from some of my other favorite authors like Sarah Dessen and Maggie Stiefvater.
Track your progress on the website
Go to nanowrimo.org to track your progress, connect with other writers, and maybe even win a prize! It’s free to make an account and the site is super easy to navigate.
Will you be participating in National Novel Writing Month? I’d love to hear your goals!