Many aspiring authors, and even authors who have already been published, know that the month of November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), a fast and furious 30-day challenge to get that best-selling novel out of your head and on to a computer screen (or paper, depending on your preference). The crazed writing style of NaNo, founded by Chris Baty in 1999, has served as a great motivator for those writers who work best under a strict deadline (like myself).
The goal of Baty’s challenge is to reach 50,000 words by midnight of November 30th. Believe me it’s not easy. So far I’ve tried it twice, each year increasing my numbers, but failing to reach that magical word count. Last year I made it somewhere like 24,000 words, and even though I didn’t reach the goal I was happy with what I had accomplished. Unfortunately, my book is still stuck in my head and screaming to get out, which means I should probably take the challenge again. But when? With deadlines piling up my time is crazy tight. According to Baty, that’s the best time to write a novel. His theory is that “being busy is good for your writing.” In his book No Plot? No Problem! he says, “…noveling in the midst of a chaotic life makes ‘book time’ a treat rather than an obligation.”
Hmmm. We’ll see.
One thing I have learned from my NaNo experience is that it’s best to enter into this thing with a plan. Seriously. The more you know about the basics of your story ahead of time, the easier your flow will come. With that said, I’d like to leave you with some advice from two of my favorite writing bloggers, Janice Hardy of The Other Side of Story, and Kristen Lamb over at Warrior Writers. Hardy, author of The Shifter and the Healing Wars trilogy, recently shared a great NaNo Prep Planner that is helpful for writers at any stage. Just the other day Lamb, author of We are not Alone – The Writer’s Guide to Social Media, posted a helpful piece on structure that many in the early stages of development may find extremely useful.
So, to all you NaNo participants I wish you the best of luck in reaching your goal; just keep writing and believing. It can happen.
Until Next time…