Rev your engines: NaNoWriMo just kicked off! From November 1 through 11:59 on November 30th writers of all persuasions — plotters and pantsers alike — are committing to writing 50,000 words or getting within striking distance of completing an entire novel. If you have an idea for a romance, fantasy, or thriller kicking around, you may want to consider jumping on board. Even if this sounds too ambitious, you might adopt parts of the NaNoWriMo strategy to rev up a project that’s been languishing and use this November to make some real progress.
If the idea appeals to you, some tips from Alexandra Suarez published in the “International Business Times” may prove helpful:
1. Become an official NaNoWriMo participant: It’s free to join and it will help keep you focused and on target. When you sign up, you’ll be able to create a profile and share your experiences with fellow writers. You can also receive advice from well-established authors that may help keep you motivated and on the page.
2. Take advantage of the NaNoWriMo website: The site offers videos and advice on story planning so you can make the most of your 30 days. There is also information on character development, story building, and plotting. Having all this information gathered in one place can be helpful and energizing.
3. Write. Write. And keep on writing: This is the perfect time to kick your internal editor and negative self-talk out of your head. Focus on meeting the word count you’ve decided works best for you — whether you’re going for broke and planning to write 50,000 words or you’ve set another target for yourself. Whatever your ultimate goal — keep your daily word count target front and center — and strive mightily to achieve it, even if you feel that some of what you’re writing is less than Shakespearean.
4. Commit to writing at the same time each day: This is a strategy that many established writers use and it’s one worth pursuing. Some people write early in the morning, before their “official” day begins; others write at night. Whatever time you choose, stick to it. When you make this decision, it simplifies your life considerably. By setting aside a block of time, you are making it easier for yourself to devote that time to your writing — and not to answering emails or running errands.
5. Stay connected: Even though you may have to put in considerable time on your own to hit your word count, don’t isolate yourself. One of the key reasons that many people jump on board the NaNoWriMo is the sense of community and shared purpose they enjoy by experiencing this intense writing challenge with others. Some libraries host NaNoWriMo events and some people partner up with one or more fellow writers so they can stay motivated and feel accountable. So, take advantage of the NaNoWriMo community.
6. Keep going: Writing an entire novel in a month is a crazy goal — but it’s not an impossible dream. Believe in your idea and keep getting your words down on paper. Some days, they’ll flow and some days, they’ll be slow. But if you keep at it by the end of the month, you’ll have the beginnings of a draft you can whip into shape over time.
NaNoWriMo-ers, unite! Get yourself in gear and let’s all write on!