If you’ve ever written a book before, you’d know that it’s such an accomplishment. Whenever I feel inadequate for a task, I remind myself that I wrote a freakin’ book! And, that’s not an average task to overcome! Before we jump the gun, what is NaNoWriMo? NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month which takes place in the month of November. Every year millions of writers come together to tackle this nearly impossible task of writing 50,000 words in a month, or roughly 1,666 per day. You’ll see mysterious creatures, in coffee shops, clanking away at their keyboard like madmen.
Each writer has their own personal goal in mind. Some are simply after the world count – not too much the novel. 1,666 words per day is a fantastic goal if you’re a blogger, as well. Sitting down and committing yourself to write two 800-word articles per day is a great way to flush out content for your blog.
Writing anything at length takes a lot of self-discipline, dedication, and focus. I wrote my first novel in 12-hour spurts over the course of a few months…which I bet sounds absolutely insane, and I admit, it was. However, I was 22 years old, chasing a dream. And, I chased it until I was comatose. LOL. Luckily for me, I was also surrounded by fantastic and passionate writers who believed in me. I received a lot of feedback along the way through a community of writers.
So with barely a week away until November, I’d like to share with you some of the lessons I’ve learned (in 5 “Easy” Steps!) of course 😛 , as well as tips I think will make your NaNoWriMo experience a success!
1. Be prepared
The first time I wrote a book, I had no direction what-so-ever: no outline, no plot, no idea what the heck I was doing. (Doesn’t mean it wasn’t a heck of a fun ride! Just not as productive. LOL.) This year I plan to turn that all around! I think the secret to preparation is to prepare *just* enough to get your creative juices flowing but not to over-prepare in a way that limits your creative potential. What do I mean by that? Well, you’ll want to have a rough outline of your plot, as well as a sentence or 2 for each chapter or scene you plan to write.
At the same time, don’t hold yourself against any of this. The purpose of NaNoWriMo is to write. So, that is exactly what you’re going to do – write. Don’t edit, don’t turn back, just go forward and write. I mean, don’t even hit that backspace button. Write like it’s a marathon. Nonstop – just keep going.
2. Join a community
I cannot stress enough the value of writing with other people. I even recommend putting 20-30 minutes aside each week just to catch up with other writers and check-in with them. Ask them how they’re doing! Make sure they’re not dead yet. Lol. Consider sharing your writing on our forums. This provides you with both support and accountability. For NaNoWriMo, I will open up a new forum topic just for NaNoWriMo where I welcome you to share your progress, questions, or concerns with others. For starters, consider sharing with us a short outline, summary, or synopsis of the book you’re planning to write! I really look forward to this part, so I hope to see you there! We really do become better writers when we read each other’s work. 🙂
3. Create a distraction-free environment
This is also a big one, and a toughie IMO. I think zoning into your writing, into your story, is probably the hardest, yet, the most vital key to consistency. There are distractions all around us, but we can make a conscious effort into limiting some of them. My biggest suggestion? I’ll tell ya: Turn off your WIFI! This has been mentioned time and time again by other writers. The fact of the matter is, the internet is very distracting, especially when it comes to social media. I also greatly recommend picking a distraction-free writing app, such as writer.bighugelabs.com. (Which is, BTW, is a writer’s dream come true!) If you work best with music playing in the background, consider instrumental music without vocals. You can also try ambient sounds, such as rain.
4. Don’t edit
Like I mentioned previously under #1, DO. NOT. EDIT. You can edit it later, guys. Heck, you can have a friend edit it. Truly, that’s the easy part. It’s the writing part that’s hard, and you’re only making it harder for yourself by editing while you should be writing, non-stop, like your life depends on it!
JUST STAWPPP! Don’t you touch that backspace key! 🙂
5. Have fun
That’s the whole point. No one is going to write a best-seller, have it all prime and proper in 30 days – it’s just not going to happen! So, let go of that possibility. It’s about challenging you – proving to yourself that you can do it! And, you can. And, you will!
In all honesty, the main reason why I participate in NaNoWriMo is to get a little closer to who I am – which is a writer. It’s about letting loose and getting a little wild…er, on paper ;). It’s about unleashing your creative side and letting it dance for a little bit. It’s about not taking you too seriously – to let your characters and your story take center stage – to take a back seat to your imagination. That’s what it’s really about.
One of my favorite quotes on writing is from a fantastic article by Medium, and it goes,”Here’s a funny truth about your story: it actually has two authors — your conscious and subconscious mind. And the thing about the subconscious is that it throws ideas at you when you least expect them. Maybe your plot outline says the characters should turn right (marching on the castle, let’s say), but they keep trying to turn left (into a weird, dark swamp that doesn’t show up anywhere in your outline). What do you do in this case?Let them go into the swamp. NaNoWriMo is no time to stop your own momentum. When you say, “Hey, my characters won’t do what I want them to do,” what you’re really saying is “I’ve thought of a new story direction but I’m afraid of the unknown.” Don’t be afraid — this is a good thing! Your characters are taking on a life of their own, so embrace that and enjoy the ride. It’s their story, after all. Not yours – Let them tell it their way.”
I really can’t wait to read all about your NaNoWriMo journey. Please, like I mentioned above, consider sharing all about it in the forums.