Fall is here and ’tis the season for NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. A group of insane authors set a goal of writing a 50,000 word rough draft in the month on November. This is a worldwide event with guest speakers, prizes, a store, and camaraderie.
Established in 1999, last year the event had over 400,000 worldwide participants. No one is required to write in English. Participants from Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia, and of course all 50 States and the provinces of the USA. I have participated three years and won the last two. I learned that you don’t have to start working on your novel on Nov 1st, that is just when you start writing it.
Preparation and Determination equals Creation.
Tips for NaNo -ing:
- Have your outline ready before November.
- Have your characters fleshed out.
- If you are using Scrivener, Have it laid out before November. Build your index cards with your scene summaries and your folders.
- Try to get any research done in advance – otherwise make a note in your story you need to look it up and keep writing research for second draft. I use *** then list what I want to look up or spellcheck, so I know to search for *** to find my research spots.
- Instead of being intimidated by writing 1500 words a day — break it up into two bites of 750 words or three bites of 500 words. I learned that trick from Leigh Perry at a workshop.
- Try not to get behind. It is possible to catch up, but can be brutal in the last week of the month.
- Remember this is a rough draft. Just get the word on paper. There is an editing event in January.
- Take care of you – get up and walk around once an hour. Healthy for body and re-energizes your brain.
- Join a Region community in Nanowrimo – get encouragement.
- Need a buddy; look for me in Nanowrimo as Claire Count.
Key thing to remember is this is a rough draft. Be kind to yourself. Everyone’s first draft is very rough. Polish that crude lump of wordsmithing until you make it a diamond after November.
NaNoWriMo is a 501c charity and will ask for donations. In the first or second week , they run a special where you get a badge or a prize bump up. Wait to donate. They run an event where donating in a certain hour gets you into a drawing for book covers , editors, free software, etc.
Winners get badges and bragging rights. The sponsors give freebies and discounts. You have the right to wear proudly the NaNoWriMo winners T-shirt and drink form the victory mug (which you have to buy for yourself). Display your certificate of completion prominently. And Literature and Latte gives winners a 50% off transferable coupon for Scrivener, a robust writing program built by a novelist for novelists. You can test it with a 30 day free trial during NaNo if you like, but I would not advise it if you are not already familiar with the program. You will loose some valuable writing time learning the program.
So join me at https://nanowrimo.org for a massive explosion of creativity.