Last year, a certain time-sucking video game released on November 11 (coughskyrimcough) and in preparation for it, I spent all of October doing my homework before the game released so I could spend more time playing it. This year, November is all about Nanowrimo for me (National Novel Writing Month) and I’m in it to win it, or so I’d like to think.
Nanowrimo is the challenge to write 50,000 words within the month of November within a single novel, a new novel that has no prior chapter written. Of course, we can bend this rule to make allowances, but you get the idea: 50,000 words. They gotta be in a story. Every year I delude myself, saying, “I can do this!” and every year I collapse into a mess of tears and failure right around November 15 or so. I think the most I got out ever was 30,000 words. Does that make Nanowrimo a waste of time? No! Those 30,000 words, or 22,0000, or 17,000 might be “failed” attempts, but I got something out of them. I got stories that I could continue to work on. That’s why we march into Nanowrimo every year with the unrealistic expectation of completing it and feeling okay with ourselves when we drop out. This year, though, I’m getting some strategies together:
- Bring some friends: sucker other people into doing this with you. That way, you have a support system in place to back you up and encourage you every step of the way. It also makes the event more fun when you host Nano parties with them or just general get-togethers.
- Plan: Spend the last half of October laying out some groundwork. Think out your story. Decide what you want to happen in it. Jot down notes and outlines. Most importantly: get a list of character names assembled beforehand. I cannot tell how many hours I have spent trying to think of the perfect name for a character. If you don’t have one ready while you’re writing, throw in a generic, a standby that you can fill in later. The writing train doesn’t stop for anything in November.
- Write over the daily amount, always: If you do the math, 50,000 words comes out to about 1667 words each day in November. Keeping that in mind, you should always write more than this, always. There will be a day where it is physically impossible for you to write anything. There will be stretches of days like this, so make your writing time count.
- If you fall off the wagon, don’t stress: You might not make it to 50,000, and that’s okay. Most people who make it to the end of Nanowrimo either have a lot of time on their hands or give up any semblance of a social life. It’s okay if you don’t make it. Most people go in knowing in the back of their minds that the might not get all the way through. The point is that you tried and you have something new for it.
- Get everything else done first: You know you have some things to do in November. Do them now if you can. They can’t trip you up during Nano if they’re not around to do it.
These are a few starter tips that I employ when prepping for Nanowrimo. I hope someone has a use for these. Or perhaps someone has more helpful ideas! I’m open for sharing! Let me know!