NaNoWriMo: 30 days of madness
A novel in 30 days?!
National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short, is an annual event run by the Office of Letters and Light in which participants from all over the world attempt to write a 50,000-word novel in a single month. Taking place in November each year, NaNoWriMo offers both new and experienced authors a chance to cultivate discipline, creativity, and lack of sleep.
I skipped doing it the last two years, after having three successful years under my belt, but I've recently decided to give it another try this year. I feel like I'm well-prepared for this one, but for first-timers the whole idea of writing a novel in 30 days can be intimidating. I thought I'd write this Hub about how to get prepared for the upcoming 30 days of madness.
- If you're a new "Wrimo," be sure to head over to NaNoWriMo.org and get yourself registered. It's free, and necessary if you want to officially participate. If you've previously registered, you might want to check out the site in the days leading up to November to make sure all your info is in order and update anything that needs updated.
- Once you're registered on the site, look around the NaNoWriMo forums and make yourself at home. Many Wrimos credit the community aspect of the site and its forums with helping them stay on track during the month. You can usually find a local or regional forum for your area, offering you the chance to meet fellow Wrimos in person. In the more populated areas, there are often regular meet-ups throughout the month, and this too can help spur you on to your November 30th victory.
- Prepare your family and friends for your journey. Let them know what your goal is, and why you may need some time to yourself during November. You may be surprised at how supportive those around you can be, and if they think you're crazy just wait until you can prove them wrong as you cross that 50,000-word mark towards the end of the month!
- Don't get too far behind in your daily goals. 50,000 words in 30 days works out to about 1,667 words per day. It's okay to fall short a few days out of the month, but don't let too many days go by without getting caught back up. You don't want to find yourself during the last week of the month with 25,000 words left to go. Some people are good at churning out word count in a short amount of time (I'm not one of them), but for most it's extremely helpful to just try to stay on track with 1,667 or more words per day from the beginning. There are spreadsheets and other resources available on the NaNo forums for help in keeping track of your daily goals.
- Don't worry too much about the quality of the work itself; the point is quantity. I have a lot of trouble with this one myself, but the point is not to have a perfect draft ready for publication by the end of the month. As with any first draft, it's okay to make mistakes and change your mind in the middle of your writing. Just remember what Hemingway said: "The first draft of anything is [naughty word for feces]." There's plenty of time for editing in December.