Today is the first day of National Novel Writing Month, or Nanowrimo, as it is more commonly called. Each year several hundred thousand people sit down during the month of November to write, with the goal of composing 50,000 words on a novel. That’s a challenge for a new writer.
So how many people reach that goal? From some surveys that I’ve taken informally, I think about 15%.
Are those novels any good? Certainly some will go on to be published.
The question becomes, how can you have a successful Nanowrimo experience? As a writer with over fifty novel-length works published, I know the secrets.
Here are a couple of keys.
- Turn your inspiration into discipline. Sit down each day and write, so that writing becomes a habit. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t hit your writing goal for a day. The fact that you sit down and write every day will help you reach your goals. Some days, you will exceed your goals.As the month wears on, and you feel worn out, keep writing every day. Like exercise, writing can become addictive. You’ll soon find that you don’t feel whole until you’ve written that day.People often get writer’s block simply because their whole brain—both left and right halves—aren’t focused on writing. The creative mind is occupied trying to solve other problems, the ones that you are thinking about at work, or in your family life. So you have to focus it on your writing by working on your prose every day, both first thing in the morning and last at night.
- Practice isn’t enough. You must also study. If you’re going to proceed with confidence, you need to understand stories. You need to feel assured as to what your next steps may be.With that in mind, I’ve put together a little Nanowrimo guide, filled with daily lessons and inspirational thoughts in order to keep you writing and to help you write better.
As you may know, for six years now I’ve been posting writing articles on a regular basis. I did it daily for my first year and a half. So I’ve taken thirty of my favorite articles from the past six years, edited them, introduced some new ideas when appropriate, and I have created a book.
It’s free on my new website at www.mystorydoctor.com, along with the article “Why People Read.”
If you would like more help with your writing studies, you might also consider purchasing some of my writing books, such as Million Dollar Outlines, Drawing Upon the Power of Resonance in Writing, Write that Novel, or Blockbuster Book Signings.
I also have a new online course, beginning today. It’s called “Prewriting – from Brainstorming to Outlining.” This six-week workshop incorporates almost everything that you would normally learn in my very popular Million-Dollar Outlines workshop, but also spends a great deal of time helping you plot your novel or screenplay in advance. Beyond that, the workshop has a special introductory offer that is half the price of doing a live workshop, and you’ll have the time and convenience of doing it from your own home. Hence, there is no expensive travel, and no time lost from work or family.
So get writing, and have a Happy Nanowrimo.
That’s what I will be doing!