How To Gear Up For NaNoWriMo

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National Novel Writing Month begins in just a few weeks and if you haven’t begun to think about participating, it is time.

National Novel Writing Month is a challenge that allows you to stretch yourself and grow and finally reach that dream to write a novel. The challenge is to write 50,000 words of a novel during the month of November. If you’ve participated in the past, then this is another chance to take the next step. As writers, we are continually learning and improving our craft, NaNoWriMo is another opportunity for growth while completing a piece of writing.

All that being said, November is not an easy month.

However, you can start right now to prepare for the difficulties that come with fast drafting a novel. Here are a few ideas:

Begin now: I’ve spoken to many writers who don’t cultivate the habit of writing every day. I subscribe to the thought that writing a minimum of words each day will improve your craft indescribably. For NaNoWriMo, the best thing you can do is develop this habit of daily writing before November arrives. Beginning today, write some words, decide on an amount, whether it is 100, 500, or 1000 words each day, and continue into November and after. Writers write. It is that simple and that difficult.

Make a Plan: A debate rages between planners and panthers on the value of planning out your novel. Planners, the extreme ones, prefer to have every chapter and scene outlined. Pantsers prefer to discover their story as they go. If one way or the other works for you, go for it. But if you are a pantser, having an idea and a place to reach won’t hurt you. A simple plan may make November a bit less stressful. For me, I will go somewhere in the middle, having a 7-point structure and some thoughts and ideas written out, means that I can let my characters tell me what is happening.

Find a Community: Writing is difficult, especially since it is done alone. Finding and connecting with a local or online group will create camaraderie and a bit of fun during what can be a challenging time. The NaNoWriMo.org site has a forum if you live out in the boonies as I do, to discover and connect with others who are furiously writing during November. Many regions have NaNo groups and offer events during October and November, it’s a great way to plug into others who share your aspirations.

Writing your novel during National Novel Writing Month is a challenging, and rewarding, endeavor. Whether or not you actually publish this particular piece of writing, you still showed up to the blank page.

And, that is worth celebrating!

Please let us know if you are participating!