Last-Minute Guide To NaNoWriMo
by Writing Workshops Org Admin
A year ago
It was 11:59 pm on October 31st. While others might have been out guising and causing mayhem or perhaps drinking witch’s potions and dancing with the ghosts and ghouls of the night, I was sequestered away in my room, fingers poised over the keyboard, fretting about whether I could complete the monumental task that was to begin in just 60 seconds. What could have kept me away from the fun and fantastic night of the undead? Only one thing—NaNoWriMo.
National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) has been hosted every November since 1999. The goal? Write 50,000 words in just 30 days. For many writers, this sounds monumental to complete in a year, much less a month. As a doubter myself, I can tell you that seeing my word counter pass 50K before November was up was both utterly shocking and wholly satisfying. Was my novel any good? Nope, not at all. But it was finished. I had the words on the page and could go back and revise later.
If this is sounding fun to you, I have good news. NaNoWriMo is completely free, and anyone can join! However, considering NaNoWriMo is only two days away, you may be thinking, “I’ll never be able to prepare for that.” No worries. Writing Workshops Dallas is here with your last-minute tips for rocking NaNoWriMo.
Use the NaNoWriMo Website
The NaNoWriMo organization provides a plethora of tools and resources to help writers get past their hurdles and get their novels written. This includes their amazing website. Signing up for an account is easy and free. Inside the site, you’ll find word trackers, pep talks from famous writers, and community forums that cover everything from plot holes to productivity hacks.
Think Outside the Novel
Just because it’s called National Novel Writing Month doesn’t mean your 50K words have to be for a novel. You could write short stories, poetry, essays, blogs, journal entries, or anything else your heart desires. Get creative and let your imagination run wild. The point is to write!
Better Late Than Never
Just now discovering NaNoWriMo? Feel a little behind the ball at getting started? Reading this on November 2nd? 3rd? 10th? It doesn’t matter! You can always join in the fun and start late. The NaNoWriMo stat tracker can help automatically calculate how much you would need to write per day to hit your goal by the end of the month.
Don’t Think, Just Type
Not having a clear starting point or project for NaNoWriMo can leave some writers paralyzed. For my first NaNo, I had an outline prepared and a game plan mapped out—and then I completely changed my mind two pages in. Don’t worry about having a plan for your writing. Sit down and type. If it’s terrible, no one ever has to see it, or you can edit it until it’s better. Again, this is about words on the page. Don’t worry about making those words perfect.
Become a Word Hoarder
Speaking of making words perfect…don’t. Write as much as you can and keep it all. Did you break away from your main novel to write a few character descriptions? Those are words on the page; add them to the count. You must also resist the urge to edit as you go. Some may argue this is basically padding your word count to get you closer to the goal. I personally believe that you wrote those words in the first place, and that’s the entire point!
Look Local for Support
NaNoWriMo goes way beyond a website. Local groups of writers and even libraries hold special events and write-ins for anyone participating. Get a few of your fellow writing friends on board and challenge each other to see who gets the most words. Writing is often solitary, but with NaNoWriMo, it’s essential to keep up with the community to keep up the momentum.
What’s the real secret to getting so many words to flow out of your brain and through your fingers onto the page? Not quitting. It’s just that simple. The NaNoWriMo model says anyone who hits 50K words by the end of November is a winner. Does that mean you lose if you don’t hit the goal? Absolutely not! Getting 40K, 25K or even 5K words on the page is an accomplishment any way you look at it. Keep going and never quit. You’ll hit your 50K!