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NaNoWriMo: Cure Writers Block-Write a Book Online in a Month!

Updated on October 27, 2012
By mpclemens from Pleasant Hill, United States (NaNoWriMo: the home front) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By mpclemens from Pleasant Hill, United States (NaNoWriMo: the home front) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

If you're interested in writing, then you probably have heard of nanowrimo.org and this amazing worldwide event. Every year, in the month of November, writers from all over the world descend on this site to accomplish an amazing feat! They all try to write a novel in a single month! To be precise, it's actually 50,000 words in 30 days. Thousands participate- hundreds of thousands to be more precise.

I'm writing this hub because I've entered this year's challenge (2012). Now, the event is just about to start (only a few days away, actually), so you might want to head on over there and sign up quickly if you want to get on the bandwagon. Hopefully, I'll update this page during (possibly) or after (definitely) the nano month to provide some insight into the experience, and maybe even an excerpt of my writing.

Now, why participate?

  • For the sheer challenge of it!
  • To overcome your fear of writing
  • To form good writing habits
  • To open up your creativity
  • To get a first draft!
  • To get into a writing community

We all know--well, most of us, at least-- about that singular obstacle that we face everyday in our creative lives. If you've ever read the classic book The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, then you know it's called -Resistance. That's right, it's that force--whatever it is--that exists purposely to keep you from doing your work. The work that you were meant to do, that you are talented for, and that you are desperately scared of doing. One way to overcome it is to just get up and do it! If you're a writer, Nanowrimo gives you the perfect opportunity to do that. Participate to give yourself that push on the road, to get started on that novel that you've been playing around with in your head for years.

Problems targeted by the challenge

  1. Perfectionism- All you need to target is the daily word count, nothing else!
  2. Procrastination- The challenge and community involvement makes it easier. The time and opportunity is provided, all you need to do is start.
  3. Indiscipline- Now, you have a daily target, a community to support you, even an audience to be accountable to, so you are much more likely to take on that challenge daily.
  4. Fear- Sounds weird, I know. But many of us fear that blank page more than anything else. We fear the possibilities, even the successes. This is the perfect opportunity to get beyond this resistance.

Read Steven Pressfield's War of Art for honest and pragmatic help in getting over your writer's block, fear and procrastination battles

The Challenge

50,000 words divided by 30 (days)- That's 1,666.66666666667 words in a day! OK, so we won't be that precise. Lets just say roughly, 1,700 words a day. How many pages is that? Single spaced, Times New Roman, Font 12 on my Openoffice word processor comes to about three and a half pages everyday. Quite a challenge indeed! I can hardly get myself to do 1000 words every single day as it is. Yet, I'm going to do this for myself this year, just to form this habit in myself of writing consistently. Psychologists say that 21 days' repetition forms a habit--hopefully 30 days will do it for slow learners like me.

How does it actually work?

Please read the How NaNoWriMo Works page on the site about this.

Basically:

  1. Sign up, verify
  2. Fill in profile details and some about your novel
  3. Browse Forums for tips and advice
  4. Begin writing on 1st November, updating your word count daily
  5. Upload your 50,000 or more words novel on midnight, 30th November.

And...Voila! You're through!

Note

The work must be entirely new. You start from scratch. You can use a basic outline that you already have, as long as you have not actually written the story or started to in any significant way.

NaNoWriMo Success Stories and Tips

''Tips to Get You From 0 to 50K'': From The Nanowrimo Welcome page

  • It’s okay to not know what you’re doing. Really. You’ve read a lot of novels, so you’re completely up to the challenge of writing one.
  • Do not edit as you go. Editing is for December and beyond. Think of November as an experiment in pure output. Even if it’s hard at first, leave ugly prose and poorly written passages on the page to be cleaned up later.
  • Tell everyone you know that you’re writing a novel in November. This will pay big dividends in Week Two, when the only thing keeping you from quitting is the fear of looking pathetic in front of all the people who’ve had to hear about your novel for the past month.
  • There will be times you’ll want to quit during November. This is okay. Everyone who wins NaNoWriMo wanted to quit at some point in November. Stick it out. See it through. Week Two can be hard. Week Three is much better. Week Four will make you want to yodel.

Guides through nanowrimo and similar personal targets

Believe it or not, there have been some amazing stories coming out of nanowrimo and many, many published books! Check out some of them here.

Some published writers keep using nanowrimo to write new novels every year!

What to Expect

  • The writing will be way below perfection. Nanowrimo's successful writers say that at best, it will amount to a rough first draft. But that's OK! When you have something like that in your hands, then shaping it, fixing it and rewriting it becomes that much easier- You've already done the hardest part!
  • The month is supposed to be intense! Expect to go nuts near the middle to the end of November.
  • Your social life may suffer seriously in these 30 days. But never fear! Your creativity, writing and possibly spirituality may just soar! Besides, you have December and January to catch up with all you'll have missed. And you'll have a draft to turn into a decent novel in these months too.

Tips

  • Pick a specific time to write each day.
  • You can just let loose in the weekend, writing as much as your muse will allow.
  • Those participants with full time jobs and otherwise very busy days say that they do it by assigning time, twice each weekday, to write significant lengths of the work. That would be early in the morning and late in the evening before bed-- about an hour or so each.
  • They also take advantage of breaks during the day to do so small bits, even if it's only ten or twenty minutes or so.

Check out Kevin Kaiser on WD for more advice on getting through this crazy month of fiction writers. In this article, he gives some great tips to simplify your work before nano November gets here- like how to break down the writing into simple segments before you start writing.

Vote on your own nanowrimo experience! I'm excited to know!

How would you rate your nanowrimo experience, past or current?

See results

Nanowrimo meet up

If any of you are interested in chatting with me over there at nanowrimo, my username is Evecivo (not Eva civo, like my hupage subomain). Perhaps we could join one group to offer support and help to each other, yes? My project is a mystery/thriller story set in a contemporary fantasy--Unless of course I change my mind and do a chick lit instead, lol! I'm trying to build up my story idea so I can start on 1st November, pronto!

So what do you think? Are you up for the challenge? Let me know if you're participating, how you like it, and what kinds of stories you'll be doing! Happy Writing!

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    • Eva Civo profile image
      Author

      Eva Civo 4 years ago

      Hey Clare! Welcome here on hub-pages! I'm so grateful for your comment and your share on twitter! Wish you all the est next year--You'll do great.

    • profile image

      Clare Adams 4 years ago

      This is such a great post! It basically sums up all the pros - love it! I wish I had time to participate this year, but I'm determined to make it next year!

    • Eva Civo profile image
      Author

      Eva Civo 4 years ago

      Haha! You're right, WritingPrompts! I'm really busy trying to get it all ready, lol! I started too late. I'll see if I can find you there. Hey, since you have some experience with nano, did you vote?

    • WritingPrompts profile image

      Karen 4 years ago from The Garden of Eugene (Oregon)

      Only 4 days to go and you are debating between Mystery & ChickLit? I've got my outline almost finished! (Previous years I started late and got stuck by 20,000 words... this time I wanted to go in prepared.) I'm getting excited. This time I'm going to win. (username: DarrkeThoughts)

    • Eva Civo profile image
      Author

      Eva Civo 4 years ago

      Hey, ZofiaLotus! I'm glad I got you all psyched up, lol! I want company! I've added a poll, so you can come back here to vote on your experience once it starts, or when it's over. Hope to see you there! And good luck!

    • ZofiaLotus profile image

      ZofiaLotus 4 years ago from Oregon

      you've got me totally psyched up to do this. My username is ZofiaLotus if anyone wants to try to meet up with me over at nanowrimo.org. :) I've been wondering exactly what this was sooner. Now I just need to figure out the story I want to work on.........hm........