NaNoWrimo – or National Novel Writing Month takes place every November. Let’s look at what it is and how it can kick-start your writing, energise your creativity or breathe life back into an older project. This is the first of a four part series I’ll be running throughout November. There will also be a special episode of the podcast on November 13th to help you keep the momentum going.
As I write this, NaNoWriMo 2018 is about to begin. What is it? It’s a free-to-enter challenge in which participants set themselves the goal of writing 50,000 words of a novel – all in the month of November. It’s crazy – in a good way. I completed the challenge back in 2012, hitting over 60,000 words of a first draft and giving me a huge sense of achievement. It also got me started on my journey with amazing writing software, Scrivener – something I chatted to Anne Rainbow about in a recent show.
So, how does it work? Head to Nanowrimo.org, sign up, and log in every day to update your daily word total. There’s a great community on there, as well as links to your local Nano group where you can arrange an actual meet-up with other participants or do online word sprints.
How to prepare . . .
Well, ideally, you’ve been thinking about your project for some time and hopefully have at least a premise or some idea of the characters you want to write about. November is upon us, but plenty of people just ‘go for it’ and enjoy the ride – so don’t be afraid. You literally have nothing to lose.
So many words! Help!!
1667 words. Every day. That’s your target, but time is limited – you won’t have the luxury of procrastination. So how can you make sure you make a big dent in that target every time you sit down to write?
There are a couple of things to try. It doesn’t matter if you like to write by the seat of your pants, it will still help you to take 5 minutes at the end of each writing session to put down a couple of bullet points about where the story is heading next. When you return to the page for the next session – that little prompt will be waiting for you and you can get going without hesitation.
The power of the cliff-hanger
One more tip before I go. When you are coming to the end of your writing session, why don’t you try stopping in the middle of . . . a sentence (see what I did there?). This is the tried and tested method of leaving the scene in media res – the more abrupt the better. This works in two ways. You’ll be desperate to get back to the page and you’ll know what to write.
More NaNoWriMo help is on the way . . .
There will be more NaNoWriMo posts throughout November, so follow the the blog via the email link on the right, and make sure you subscribe to the podcast for more help and inspiration to take your writing to the next level.