Recently I’ve had a lot of people asking me questions about National Novel Writing Month. While most of the information about this month can be obtained via the official website, I’m writing this post to give you some tips and pointers based on personal experience.
First of all, participate in word sprints. Most of these can be found on Twitter. Word sprints are timed writing sessions, usually of fifteen minutes or more. You group up with a bunch of people and compete to get the highest word count. While I don’t like to participate in word sprints all the time, they’re great for pushing yourself to finish word count.
Next, when you’re writing, describe everything in as much detail as possible. This is not only a good writing strategy, but it also will help you jack up your word count. And that’s what NaNoWriMo is all about (kidding). You can describe setting, people, clothing, and even the weather. Let loose with the description. You can always cut back during the editing process.
That brings me to my next point: don’t edit as you go. First drafts are supposed to be messy. Dump everything out on the page without thinking about it. Yes, it will suck. Yes, it might embarrass you. But if you try to edit as you write, you’ll get so bogged down with the changes you need to make that you might get discouraged and stop putting fresh words down. There will be plenty of time for editing later.
Hang out on the NaNoWriMo website. There are word count widgets, forums, and pep talks to keep you motivated all month long. Seriously, it’s amazing. There’s nothing more motivating than seeing that word count steadily climb. The forums are great, too because they allow you to get in touch with other wrimos. There are threads for prompts, characters, plot development, music, and more. Check it out here.
Also, if you’re on Pinterest (follow me!), you might want to make a board or two for your novel and its characters. Pinterest can be a great source for inspiration. I always have one board for the novel overall and one for each character as well. On each board, I repin quotes, people, clothing, and other items relating to the novel. It helps more than you think.
So there are just a couple of tips to help you with NaNoWriMo. What tips or advice do you have? What are you writing about this month?
November is infamous. It’s cold and dreary and easily one of the worst months of the year. Sandwiched between Halloween and Christmas, it’s almost forgettable. The only thing worth noting about November is that it’s National Novel Writing Month – NaNoWriMo for short.
NaNoWriMo is terrifying. Some of the most stressful moments of my life can be traced back to NaNoWriMo. Of course, when you’re trying to put down 50,000 words in the span of thirty days, a certain amount of hardship is to be expected. The benefits must outweigh the costs. After all, I keep coming back to it every year.
What is it about NaNoWriMo that is so appealing? It’s not the frantic sprint of fingers on keys in an effort to make word count. It’s not the caffeine burning hot through your veins. It’s not the blood, sweat, and tears. So come on, what is it? Why do so many people want to participate in this madness?
Because it’s amazing. NaNoWriMo just might be the biggest thrill of your life. When you force yourself to write a novel in a month, you’ll learn so many new things about yourself. You’ll grow in ways you never anticipated. You’ll achieve something you never thought possible.
I won’t lie to you – it’s hard to write a novel. Starting is easy, but finishing is tough. There will be moments when you’ll want to throw in the towel. Let them pass. You can do it, I promise. And when you come out swinging at the end, you’ll be so proud of yourself you won’t know what to do.
You should most definitely do NaNoWrimo.
For more information, visit this website. Also, please let me know if you plan to participate. I’d love to buddy up with you. We all might need to encourage each other!