So for all of you crazy, wonderful NaNoWriMo types:
...just how do you write 50,000 (or more) words in thirty days?
We have lots of tips (books, blog posts, articles) on how to get ready for National Novel Writing Month madness, but once November 1 is here my advice is to stop looking at writing advice and start writing.
Some types sneer at the concept of writing a full-length novel in one month, but the point of NaNoWriMo is not to end up with a beautifully written, perfect manuscript that will lead to publishers' bidding wars and international awards. No. My hope for all NaNoWriMo participants, whether already published or not, is simply to write 50,000 words—perhaps much of which will be complete and utter crap—by December 1.
As I see it, the beauty in NaNoWriMo is threefold:
- Creating a regular writing practice
So many of us struggle to write every day. During NaNoWriMo you write—a lot—every day, helping to create the habit of making the time to write and then actually writing.
- Completing a major length writing project
Will it be your best work? No. Will it get published? Not likely. Will you realize that you can write a novel to completion and learn a whole lot (about yourself and you as a writer) from the process? Yes.
- Community Support
What most consider the most important aspect of NaNoWriMo is the community support. There are websites, international and local online and in-person meet-up groups, support from others who see the fun and folly of writing 50,000 words in thirty days. (And perhaps you didn't realize that your local library is one of the best places for writing space, information, tips, support and awesome programs for writers?)
So now what?
Well, you (especially those of you who like to tackle things in a structured way) are in luck; in its How to write a book in 30 days series, the Guardian website has spent the last two weeks giving detailed advice and a day-to-day breakdown on how yoGuardian How to Write a Book in 30 Daysu might best use the thirty days of November:
Stage 1: days 1–6
Creating your preliminary outline with characters, setting and plot
Stage 2: days 7–13
Researching your novel (note: please remember the Calgary Public Library)
Stage 3: days 14–15
The evolution of your story
Stage 4: days 16–24
Introducing the formatted outline
Stage 5: days 25–28
Evaluating the strength of your formatted outline
Stage 6: days 29–30
Revising your first draft
If you like to take notes, there is even a series of worksheets to help keep you on track (you have to register for the Guardian website to access the worksheets).
The information in this series is a condensed version of what is in Karen S. Wiesner's First Draft in 30 Days, and may help you focus on how best to use your time. (note to NaNoWriMo participants: you don't have time to read this book, or any book, before November 1.)