November is Nanowrimo
The goal of Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) is to write 50,000 words in 30 days.
No Plot? No Problem!, A Low-stress, High-velocity Guide to Writing A Novel in 30 Days was written by Chris Baty, founder of Nanowrimo. He started the program in 1999 with 21 people. By 2004 it was up to 25,000 participants and in 2014 it increased to 325,142 participants.
“Writing for quantity rather than quality, I discovered, had the strange effect of bringing about both,” Baty wrote. “The roar of adrenaline drowned out the self-critical voices.”
What you need is a deadline, he said. Writing 50,000 words in 30 days means you write an average of 1,667 words a day. This gives you permission to make mistakes. First drafts are always rough.
Through Nanowrimo, he found four revelations:
1. Enlightenment is overrated. Write sooner rather than later. You don’t have to wait until you are older.
2. Being busy is good for your writing.
3. Plot happens. “Plot is simply the movement of your characters through time and over the course of your book.”
4. Writing for its own sake has surprising rewards.
He recommends keeping setting simple in the beginning. You can add more detail later. Also, don’t judge while you are writing, nor self-edit. Write all you can while you are excited. Don’t worry about getting it right…” he said. “That will come in the revisions…your goal is just to get it written.”
Another book that may help determined writers is Book in a Month, the fool-proof system for writing a novel in 30 days, by Victoria Lynn Schmidt, Ph.D.
Besides giving tips, he also provides worksheets for you to use as you, such as story tracker, Writing Time Tracker, At a Glance Outline Sheet and Character Story Sketch.
Like Baty, she stresses that “You cannot write and rewrite at the same time if you want to finish a book in 30 days.”
Participating in Nanowrimo is a great incentive to write that novel you’ve been dreaming about. It gives you a goal, a deadline and at the end of the month, you will have a rough draft of a novel. That is a huge accomplishment.
Even if you don’t write 50,000 words, you have the start of a book, plus you have practiced your writing skills which will help you in the future. After the 30 days, take a break. Let life get back to normal before you start editing.
For those who feel they need a little more time, but are serious about writing a novel, I recommend The Extreme Novelist: The No-Time-to-Write Method for Drafting Your Novel in 8 Weeks By Kathryn Johnson. Check out my blog about this book under January 2015.
Besides becoming part of the Nanowrimo community, you can receive writing tips, a format to keep track of your accomplishments and encouragement from published writers. How much you want to participate is up to you.
For more information check out the website, www.nanowrimo.org.