National Novel Writing Month starts the first of November, and a couple of times in the past week I’ve had people ask, “How can I make the most of nanowrimo?”
This November, more than 300,000 writers across America will set a goal to “write a novel in a month.” The novel is defined as 50,000 words in length. That’s an attainable goal for most people, but it’s also one that you have to struggle to attain.
In order to make the most of the month, I suggest a few things.
1) Write every day. Set a goal to get something done, and use that inspiration to create a writing habit. It’s a lot like going to the gym. The first few days when you try it, you feel beat up and sore afterward. But if you keep it up for a week, it turns into a habit. Keep it up for two weeks, and you’ll feel crummy if you don’t get to write. In other words, in time you’ll learn to write, and you’ll find it as a release.
2) Don’t rewrite. Instead of going back and fixing things over the month, leave yourself notes each day about edits that you want to make in that previous manuscript, but just keep plowing through it. Otherwise, the rewriting itself becomes something of an excuse not to write original material.
3) Try to write every day. I find that it is helpful to write at the same time each day. For me, that’s in the morning. A little routine is helpful. You might find that you like to turn on the stereo and listen to a soundtrack, or grab a drink of tea to set beside your computer. Whatever you need to do, get into a habit.
4) There are certain things to avoid. Don’t read your emails first, or let yourself go on Facebook, or play videogames. This is your writing time. In fact, communication where you respond to others should go out the window. The desire to write is born of the need to communicate, and if you’re talking to others, the desire to write will diminish.
5) Have a plan for your book. If you haven’t plotted your novel yet, you might consider that now. To help you, I have the Story Puzzle Course that deals with brainstorming and outlining a novel, or you can get my book Million Dollar Outlines and use it. (See the ad for the storybundle book bundle below.)
6) I do sometimes find that reading a little helps get me in the mood to write, but once again, it has to be a little. It doesn’t necessarily have to be fiction. For example, reading a little writing article might sometimes encourage me. For that reason, I’ll be giving out a free e-book for Nanowrimo called Daily Meditations: Writer Tips for 100 Days. This is a collection of 100 of my favorite kick articles, all rewritten, along with quotes for each day from other famous authors. The book will be available in about a week, so keep an eye out for it!
If you’re looking for a little more inspiration for Nanowrimo, I currently have two books for sale in a nanowrimo bundle, which has twelve writing books for only $15. This is a fantastic deal, so check that out, too.