NaNoWriMo: Novel Writing for Procrastinators
Have you ever dreamed about writing a book, or becoming a novel writer?
Are you "in the process of" writing a book, but just haven't "gotten around" to it yet?
Do you find that you simply don't have time, or lack the motivation to start?
If you've answered YES to any of the above three questions, then I have the answer for you - or at least a temporary solution.
National November Writer's Month.
This is an open contest held once a year for writers from all over the world. The goal is to write a minimum of 50 000 words of a brand new novel. You're not limited to that amount of words, so if you're able to write more than that, go for it.
Check this out...
There are almost 1.5 million e-books available to buy online (from as little as $0.00 - yes, there are FREE books online as well!)
Here's the link if you'd like to browse through the million or so books they have available.
I could answer yes to all three of those questions. I'd been saying for years that I was going to write a book. In fact, I was going to wait for my writing career to take off and then write a book.
But, why wait?
Today isn't the same as 10 years ago. We have the advantage of technology.
Do you know how many books are available to read on Kindle?
Go and have a look, I'm sure you'll be very surprised.
It's true - not all books on there are well written, but the fact that it's so easy today to write and self-publish a book, is what's making it possible for writers all over the world to actually publish a book.
Still, I was going to wait until 2013 to start writing my book.
See? Waiting. It's so easy to make an excuse.
And then a few of my blogging friends decided to enter NaNoWriMo. I had second thoughts. It was too stressful. How on earth was I going to write a book, let alone churn out 50 000 words?
Maybe it was, but I signed up anyway along with the rest of them.
I honestly don't think I'd ever have started my book (at least no time soon) if I hadn't had the pressure of having to write a certain amount of words each day.
Of course, nothing will happen to you if you don't finish or reach the total, but if nothing else - it lifted me out of my period of procrastination.
It was the kick in the butt that I needed!
Writing a Novel - Lessons Learnt
Writing a novel is very different to writing articles, content writing, or blogging. I can see how some writers get writer's block, or scrap their book before they've finished.
It certainly isn't easy.
But, it's an experience worth trying.
Here's what I've learnt since entering the contest:
- There are loads of novel writing websites out there that can help you with any doubts or questions you may have about how to start your novel, or what type of genre your novel should be.
- Not sure what to name your characters? Check out babynames.com - there are tons of cool/popular/traditional/celebrity names to choose from, and you can even browse baby names by different countries.
- A writing support group is imperative. There will be days when you want to give up, and all you really need is someone to talk to who's in the same boat as you. Someone who isn't your partner/friend/family member - who have run out of words of encouragement or pieces of advice. You can browse online for these, there are plenty.
- If you have the luxury to write the entire day - fantastic. But, if not, you'll need to block off a few hours a day. Time yourself and block everything else off for those few hours. That means closing Facebook, your email notifications, turning off the radio and even putting your phone on silent if you need to.
- You will be sucked into the story of your character.It's inevitable. You need to dig deep to write on what this person is feeling, seeing and doing. Warn your family. You'll be talking about him/her for days and weeks at a time until you've finished your book.
- You're not just going to write the first draft and be done with it. That's the easy part. After that, you'll need to go through the whole book chapter by chapter to edit, maybe even more than once. Plan ahead for this if you need to.
- Grow a thick skin. Not everyone is going to like what you've got to write, and that's part of the package when you decide to become a writer.
- The Internet is incredible. You can describe a staircase, a city, or a piece of clothing in your book simply from browsing online.
Don't worry if you're too late to enter NaNoWriMo this year, you can always enter next year. The contest is open to anyone, from any country.
If you're keen to get started immediately, try and find a writing buddy who also wants to start writing a novel. It's always easier when someone is doing something with you.
If you'd like to start on your own, take a browse online to find writing forums or support groups for new novel writers. It helps to have some support in your corner for the days when your motivation may be slumped and you feel like quitting.
Best of luck!