Monday, October 27, 2014

Monday writing: NaNoWriMo

Well, it's almost November, and that means that I will once again be writing every night, checking the word count every so often and cursing that I'm not yet at my target word count for the day.

November is National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo for short.  Its website can be found here.  I don't think it's quite as official as the name makes it sound, but there it is.  November is a terrible month to write a novel.  If you're a student, you're still in school, then there's Thanksgiving and the beginning of the holidays.  It's also a short month in that it only has thirty days.  If only it had thirty-one!

Basically, the goal of NaNoWriMo is to write fifty thousand words of a novel.  That means you don't necessarily have to complete the novel, just write fifty thousand words of it.  That might sound like a lot, but divided over a month, you're only writing 1,667 words a day, which is definitely manageable.  Now, don't get me wrong.  It takes time and dedication to meet that word count everyday.  On average, I usually write about an hour a night, sometimes as much as two hours and sometimes as little as half an hour.

You don't get anything for writing fifty thousand words.  You can display a nifty banner on your website.  You can feel good about your accomplishment.  But you don't get anything else.  It really is just for fun and to motivate anyone and everyone who has ever had a dream of writing a novel.  The first time I did NaNoWriMo was back in 2006, which I won.  I did not attempt it again until 2012, which I won again, and again last year, which I also won.  I intend to win this year as well.

That said, I haven't decided what novel I'm going to work on.  For the past two years (and a mini session I did in April), I have been working on my fantasy novel titled "Natalie's Dragon."  It is close to 200,000 words now, and I think I will finally be able to wrap it up within the next 75,000 words.  It's actually against the rules to continue a previous novel for NaNoWriMo, however.  You're supposed to start a brand new novel every year.  Since you don't actually win anything, I have decided to break this rule and continue my previous novel.  I still added 50,000 words every time, which was what I cared about more than actually playing by the NaNoWriMo rules.

I have another novel I might decide to work on instead.  It's untitled, but I feel that it would make a better debut novel than my fantasy novel would.  It would be shorter and much easier to pitch.  I'm itching to finish my fantasy novel, but I also would like to get something published soon.  I could see this new novel getting published within the next three years depending on how quickly I write and how long it takes me to pitch it.  I think my fantasy novel could take a long time to find a publisher and hit the shelves.  We'll see, though.

I think the most important tip I could give to "win" NaNo is to never get behind.  No matter how tired you are at the end of the day, sit down and meet your word count, or you will really regret it the next day, and if you keep putting it off, it's very likely that you will end up quitting altogether.  I have seen it happen with friends.  It's only one month, so just push through it!  You'll feel so good by the end of it if you succeed.

1 comment:

  1. I'm definitely saving this post to show to my fiance. He loves writing, and he's been working on a few novels himself. However, he isn't very consistent with writing on a day to day basis. Maybe if I show this to him, it will motivate him to write each day, which, in turn, will become a habit. Thank you for sharing this!

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