It’s that time of year where the writers are frantically plotting and nervously second guessing themselves. In a week NaNoWriMo begins!
For those of you who do not know, NaNoWriMo stands for ‘National Novel Writing Month’, where writers attempt and often succeed at writing 50,000 words in the month of November. Yes, it’s as fun and stressful as it sounds.
Last year I participated and completed NaNoWriMo. (One of my favorite accomplishments.) This year I will be participating, but not competing to complete, I don’t have time to write every day…but I will be setting my own goal for November and cheering on the eager writers.
(If you want to be my NaNo buddy, my username is: AnnaJoy_AJ.)
If this is your first NaNoWriMo, here are some helpful tips to surviving and enjoying it in the midst of the
stress …I mean, fun!
1. Quantity, NOT quality.
NaNoWriMo gives you the motivation you need to get 50,000 words of your book down that you otherwise haven’t gotten around to writing down (it’s okay, we have all been there).
Sadly, this means that a majority of November you will be more concerned with your word count than what words you’re using.
I am the kind of writer that will edit as I go along, perfecting each word, making sure everything flows from one sentence to the next. Ha. No one, I repeat, no one, is allowed to read my rough draft from last NaNoWriMo. I don’t even wish to read it.
But there’s a reason there are rough drafts. It allows you to finish, with the opportunity to better your book. Plot holes, punctuation, wording…everything can (and will) be changed eventually. But NaNoWriMo is the moment of getting your story out of your head and onto paper so your mind can finally think, and breathe. Once all those little ideas are finally on paper, it allows new ones to form so when you go to re-write and/or edit, you can have some room to re-work things that you other wise might have not thought of before.
2. Don’t compare your writing progress and/or process to other writers.
Some people can write faster than others. Some people have their stories more developed and plotted than others. Don’t compare their success to yours. Every story has its own journey it goes through until it becomes the novel the author longs for it to be.
NaNoWriMo is a very sped-up and rushed version of this writing process, but nonetheless, its a journey and a process. You will be surprised when you wake up December first and realize how much you’ve grown as a writer and how much your novel has matured, not just in size but also in story depth over the course of November. But comparing your writing and yourself to other writers and their work will only discourage you, and that is the last thing you need during NaNoWriMo!
3. Make an Event of it
ENJOY it. Yes, as stressful as it might be, you will be looking back on November with fondness and warm fuzzy feelings. During November it can be hard to embrace all that is happening. If you’ve had a busy or stressful day, you might be dreading writing 1500.
But do something that will make you look forward to it, make cookies so when the writing munchies attack you can fight them with cookies. Make specialty tea. Light a candle. Buy candy that you only eat while writing. Anything to create an atmosphere so your brain gets in the habit that everyday is writing day. Of course, this would be ideal everyday, but reality is that this might only happen a few times during NaNoWriMo, just the same, try to enjoy it. You’re writing a book, that’s something to be excited about.
4. Balance the Word Count
I’m not going to lie to you: you will get behind.
The first week you might be super dedicated and determined to write 1500 words a day.
But what people don’t tell you, is that there are days that creativity doesn’t flow like it used to. There are days your too busy or tired to write. And it’s okay. If you find that you’ve gotten behind, either catch up in one day OR…the best solution I have found, was balancing it out. If I was 2000 words behind, instead of writing 3500 words to catch up, I wrote 1750 words until I caught up. Find what works for you.
If you have a bad day or a bad week of writing, don’t give up. Keep going. If you begin with a rough start, keep going until you finish with success and beautiful accomplishment.
Happily ever afters do exist, they exist the moment you reach 50,000 words.
I will be posting a few more blog posts before NaNoWriMo begins, and a few throughout November. If you have any questions or anything you want to know about NaNoWriMo, let me know! I would be more than happy to help and encourage fellow aspiring writers.
Good luck to all participants!
Go write some words and move some mountains.
You got this.