Everything you need to know
National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short, is rapidly approaching, which can mean only one thing: I need a bigger supply of energy drinks. My name is Danielle Paige, and last year I discovered NaNoWriMo.
For those of you who haven’t heard of NaNoWriMo before, it is a worldwide competition open to participants of all ages and nationalities. It sets the challenge for writers everywhere to produce 50,000 words within the month of November. Effectively, this means that you will have written a full length novel in the space of one month, ready to be edited, revised, cried over, lost, found again, and then sent off to lots of publishers who’ll make you the next J.K. Rowling.
In case I still haven’t convinced you, NaNoWriMo will supply everyone who hits their 50,000 word target with plenty of writing-related services. Last year, there were coupons and discount codes for sites such as Lulu and Createspace, and even the chance to have copies of your novel printed as a paperback for free. Most of these codes were active for more than six months, so there was lots of time for smoothing over all of the rough bits of your draft.
Hopefully by now you’ll be interested in NaNoWriMo and want some tips for the month. It can be quite a struggle, so I’ll break this down into five key bullet points:
#1: Plan Ahead
NaNoWriMo can be quite a struggle for people who have even the clearest ideas about where they want their novel to go. It can be all too easy to get into the habit of free writing and losing touch with your characters by steering them away from your plot. Create a loose idea before you begin. Give yourself some freedom, but not enough to write something that you won’t be proud of at the end.
#2: Keep Counting
Luckily, the brilliant team at NaNoWriMo have created a word count verification system. All you have to do is paste your draft into the little box and it will count all of the words for you, and even plot your progress on a little graph. You’ll know how much you’re writing daily, and whether or not it’s enough to finish by the end of the month.
#3: Don’t Give Up
If you write 1,667 words every day for thirty days, you will end up with 50,000 words. It’s a fact, I promise. Unfortunately, there will be days when you won’t have the time, and you might fall behind. You might have to write twice as many, (or if you’re as useless as I was last year, six times as many) but you can still do it! Don’t give up because it seems unreachable at the time. Set aside an hour or so to write every single day.
This slightly contradicts the point above, but make sure you prioritise. If you have work to be doing for school, don’t neglect it because you want to reach your target for the day. It’s important that you don’t fall behind in anything else you have to do.
#5: The First Draft
Don’t be disheartened if you write 50,000 words that are littered with grammatical faults and spelling mistakes. NaNoWriMo is about quantity, not quality, and encourages you to draft your novel. It won’t be a masterpiece at the end of the month (unless you’re a genius with far too much free time) so switch off your inner editor and just write.
So what are you waiting for? Head over to http://www.nanowrimo.org and create your free account! And there is also a Movellas NaNoWriMo group to share the highs and lows of the next month on. Who else is getting involved this month?