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Someplace Helpful to Start Your Journey as a Writer

Updated on March 14, 2020

I Have A Great Idea For A Book...Now What?

For those of us who like to write, we come up with many ideas for stories or even books that we want to write. Some of them actually make it to paper or being typed out while others get tossed around in our minds for a bit, but when we run into a tiny block we immediately stop and tell ourselves that it must not have been that great of an idea. In the weeks and months ahead we may come back to that idea, but we try not to dwell on it because we feel that if we couldn't get past plotting the basics there's no way we'll be able to turn it into anything. WRONG!

I've been there many times. I've lain awake at night in bed wondering why I hadn't been able to take my ideas and get them down and make something of them. I've run things by friends and been asked many times why I haven't made them into books and the answer is always the same. Because I get stuck long before I could even write half a book. The last time I started down that path of speaking and thinking I was introduced to several programs that changed everything I ever thought about writing.

There's An Online Camp For Writers

A friend introduced me to something called Nanowrimo and Camp Nanowrimo. I'm sure you're curious as to what these are and I will explain them to you in detail. Both of these things have been a game changer for me and the way that I write. Nothing in this article is sponsored. I just feel that I should share what I've learned with everyone who's interested in becoming a writer.

What Is Nanowrimo?

Nanowrimo is a website that helps writers to achieve their goals of not only finishing a rough draft of a novel, but also getting to that final draft and everything in between. This program is amazing in the fact that it keeps track of your progress, awards you badges for hitting milestones, and when you hit the 50,000 word mark you have technically officially written the minimum word count to have written a novel. You can team up with other people who participate to bounce ideas and thoughts around or even just take a break and discuss other things. There is a large variety of personalities that participate, but everyone there has the same goals so it's like being surrounded by people who are all rooting for you to get your novel written.

Signing up for this site is incredibly simple. You make an account, state what your personal word goal is, give a title to your draft, and begin writing. It's that simple. The only sort of not so great thing about Nanowrimo is that even though the site is open for everyone all year, the actual Nanowrimo program takes place for the month of November, which is novel writing month.

If you choose to participate in Nanowrimo there is even a writing preparation packet that you can download for free to help you get started with plotting. Most people do this through the month of October.

If you plan on participating in November, I would advise you to start getting familiar with the site in October. It's not difficult to learn by any means, but it just makes things simpler for when the actual writing month begins. You can participate in forum chats and even practice something called writing sprints.

Writing sprints are something that many of us like to use when we want to challenge ourselves, or even sometimes we do these in groups. The duration of the writing sprint can be one minute or sixty depending on your preference. There is a timer on the site that you can set and after your time is up it will ding to let you know, followed by a prompt asking you how many words you got and what your overall feelings about that sprint were.

I highly recommend giving Nanowrimo a try if you're someone who wants to become a writer, but has no idea how to start.

Is There A Smaller Jumping Off Point?

For those who are still unsure, there is Camp Nanowrimo. Camp Nanowrimo takes place twice a year, April and July. This smaller version is different from the Nanowrimo in November because this one lets you work on any type of creative project such as novel plotting, revisions, scripts, short stories, poems, and essays. Like the other Nanowrimo, to get started you just set a writing goal and get to writing.

There is also the option to link a music playlist so others know what you're listening to

A Great Writing Program I Recommend

I watched several videos on YouTube before I began participating in Nanowrimo and something I noticed fairly quickly was that most people use either Google Documents or Scrivener. I fell head over heals in love with Scrivener. The program itself isn't all that expansive and if you'd like to try it before you buy they do offer a free 30-day trial. I knew from the first day of using this program that I was going to purchase it.

I'm also going to stress that you should watch the tutorials on YouTube that teaches you all of the tricks and tips of Scrivener. This program is amazing and you can work on multiple projects, but also have everything all in one place. Something else that's great with Scrivener is that once you pay for it, it's yours forever. You will need to update the program occasionally, but those updates continue to improve the program.

Scrivener lets you break down your writing into simple workable sections that make writing a novel easy and fun. You have the normal chapter break downs and within the chapters you can break things down scene by scene by scene. You can name chapters and scenes so that everything is able to flow together. I'm telling you the way things can be broken down is a blessing. It makes writing scenes within chapters simple and it does help prevent writers block.

Finding Nano Friends

If after reading this you decide to participate in either version of Nanowrimo I'm always open to having more friends on there and also helping those who are new navigate the website. You can comment to me on here with your Nano name and I'd be happy to friend you and help you out.


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