Do you hear it? The scratch of pencil strokes, the click-clacking of keys…and the distinct whisper of hairs being yanked out of frustrated heads…
That’s right! It’s the most wonderful time of the year–NaNoWriMo!
For all the rubes out there who have no idea what I’m talking about, NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenges writers to complete a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. Sure, it sounds a little crazy, but it’s actually a lot of fun (seriously, I did it last year and I really enjoyed it even though I didn’t finish). Not only do you get to make some killer progress on your writing dreams, but it’s the absolute best way to network with other writers who are in the trenches with you. We could go on for ages about NaNoWriMo but we’ll leave the rest of the work to the NaNoWriMo website.
This year, Duolit is celebrating NaNoWriMo with some advice on writing and marketing preparation for your NaNoWriMo experience plus some super sweet giveaways in October and November.
So without further ado, let’s get to your 5 tips for NaNoWriMo Success!
1. Make an outline. This is not against the rules and in fact is encouraged by the creators of NaNoWriMo. Based on personal experience I can tell you that it’s a lifesaver. The more planning you do, the better. To crank out 50,000 words in 30 days you need to maximize every minute you have to write. Having an outline will allow you to stay focused and keep moving forward.
2. Plan your attack. Make a plan that breaks down the 50,000 words into manageable chunks–by week or even by day if you prefer. You might want to stagger the word counts for your goals based on your November calendar (Thanksgiving, for example, is not an ideal time for writing–all the cooking followed by the debilitating post-meal lethargy…that might be a good week to have a smaller goal!).
3. Manage your expectations. NaNoWriMo is not necessarily about quality of writing, it’s about quantity. That’s not to say that you should plan to write a bunch of useless drivel, it just means that you should treat this as a rough draft, not a final product. Don’t over-think things, don’t spend a ton of time editing, just get the words out. After the competition is over you’ll have as much time as you need to edit and reshape your work into exactly what you want it to be.
4. Build a creative cocoon. Figure out where you’re going to do your writing and what you need to make it a productive work space. Do you have a comfortable chair? A functional computer? What makes you most creative? Do you need to be surrounded by books or surrounded by an empty canvas (with no distractions)? Most importantly…do you have a mini fridge stocked with Mountain Dew? You’re gonna need it…
5. Just relax! To get the most out of your NaNoWriMo experience you have to kick back and enjoy it. Best case scenario, you will come away from this with the first complete draft of your next novel. Worst case scenario, you’ll have some great writing experience and a few new friends. Either way, you will learn a lot about yourself as a writer, which makes it a very worthy experience!