Today is the last day of October, which means tomorrow is the first day of November, which means it’s the first day of NaNoWriMo—National Novel Writing Month—the day that I have been both excited for and terrified of.
One of my writer friends shared this great blog post by Chuck Wendig with 25 tips for those participating, and in case any of you are as crazy as I am to attempt this feat, I thought I would share it here.
The biggest take aways for me were:
Write. It sounds simple, doesn’t it? But don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by the 30-day deadline and the 50,000 words you’re challenging yourself to write. Just focus on the next sentence, and then the one after that.
There are no losers. Even if you don’t “win” and hit the 50,000 word mark, celebrate the fact that you probably wrote more than you would have otherwise. And every word you add to your word count is another word closer to your finished manuscript.
Consider this Draft Zero. The NaNo people call it a first draft, but something like this where quantity is favored over quality, it’s probably going to take a bit more work to get it First Draft worthy. But that’s what December, January and probably February are for.
You win at 50,000 words. But you aren’t finished writing. Not even close. YA novels have permission to be 60,000 words—but for most other genres, the minimum word count is closer to 80,000. So even if you win (which is amazing, congrats!) you probably have a lot more writing to do.
Those are just a few of the points that helped me mentally prepare for this crazy undertaking. If you are doing NaNoWriMo or thinking about trying it next year, seriously read this article. And bookmark it for day 10 and day 15 and day 27 when you’re feeling discouraged.
One final note that a woman in one of my writing groups said the other day, it is so obvious that NaNoWriMo was started by two single men. No woman (married or otherwise) would pick the already jam-packed month of November to attempt something so time-consumingly crazy!
And with that, it’s time to say goodbye to October and hello to NaNoWriMo. Wish me luck!