It’s almost that time of year again, and I’m not talking about the holidays, I’m talking about NaNoWriMo. A time when writers all around the world sit down and write 50 000 words in a month.
If you have no idea what NaNoWriMo is I’ll tell you the basics. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, it is also a nonprofit that operates online with a website which is used for tracking your writing progress and connecting with other writers. I’ll link to the website at the end of the post if you want to learn more or partake in NaNoWriMo this November. In addition to a month of writing in November, they also have more relaxed programs in the summer and a program for youth.
Needless to say, I will be participating in NaNo this year. Last year was my first time trying it out after it was pitched to me by a friend. Sadly it did not go well for me during November. A lot of stuff came up in school and I ended up only getting through the first few days with just under 10 000 words. Ouch! But NaNo wasn’t a complete disaster for me. I was able to take some of the skills from the program and eventually finish the novel I started last November. It also gave me the motivation to start writing, some things new writers often struggle with.
NaNo can be hard, especially if it’s your first time. NaNo is about more than just writing a novel, it’s also about time management and establishing a habit. I would never discourage someone from trying NaNo. However, I am going to tell you it’s not all sunshine and roses. It’s going to be hard work. You’re going to want to quit a few times, sooner or later. But those are times when you need to take a moment and get away from your story. Take a walk, see a friend, or read a book. I’m not too experienced with NaNo, I took part of the big event last November and I took part in a Camp NaNoWriMo event over the summer, but I do know writing. I can give you a few tips for a daily writing habit.
So, what are my plans this year? How am I going to reach the goal of 50 000 words (1667 words a day or about two hours of writing a day) now that I’m in college? Writing that much in a day is going to be tricky, I might start getting up an hour earlier than I usually do and writing my entire weekends away. I also should mention that writing my book is not my top priority, my degree is. If I need to write a paper for one of my classes or hit my daily word count, I’m going to write the paper. That may seem pessimistic but it’s the truth. I have every intention to finish my novel and pass my classes.
NaNo for me is about more than writing, it’s about meeting other writers in the area. Especially now that I’ve recently moved. Because NaNo organizes people by region it’s easy to find other writers in the area. Already I’ve been about to contact other writers in the area and throughout NaNo I plan to attend writing events thrown in my region.
I’m also planning to do some more plotting for my novel this year. Last year I only had a vague idea of how my story was going to turn out and I think that slowed me down. This year I already have a clear concept and I need to do some world-building and planning to make this novel happen as I’m taking a more science fiction approach to this story. I want to go into NaNo with a general outline and character development plans instead of “just seeing what happens” again.
But of course, I want to write my book. Getting 50 000 words in in a month would be awesome. But I really want to write every day. I need to set up a good writing habit and that’s the purpose of NaNo. Setting up a habit would mean I would write more regularly even after NaNo, not just creatively but also for my blog. All around it increases productivity.