November’s a busy time of the year. Everyone’s caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays; the days are shorter. Most years, it seems like we skip right over November because of how much is going on.
If you’re a writer, November is an especially busy time because of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).
If you’re wanting to participate this year but aren’t sure where to start, or the idea of writing a novel in a month is intimidating, fear not! Below are 5 tips on how you can crush NaNoWriMo this year and walk away with something you’re proud of.
What Is NaNoWriMo?
Before we can get into ways you can crush NaNoWriMo this year, we first need to give a little backstory on what it actually means.
Thankfully, it’s pretty straightforward: write a novel (50,000 words) between November 1st and 30th.
Why participate? Honestly, why not? The minds behind NaNoWriMo know that every story matters, so November is dedicated to getting your story on paper. Whether it’s writing that story you’ve had stuck in your head for years or a fresh idea, it doesn’t matter. NaNoWriMo is all about getting started, then keep that momentum to get that first draft done.
Now that you know more about NaNoWriMo, here are 5 ways you can make sure you have a successful writing month!
1). Do The Prep Work
Seriously, don’t overlook the prep work. It may seem tedious now, but you’ll be thankful once you’re in the thick of NaNoWriMo that you have your outline, characterization sheets, and reference images.
While I recommend doing an extremely thorough outline, I know that doesn’t work for everyone. At a minimum, make sure to keep these things in mind when you’re planning your story:
- Character arc
- List of scenes
- Characters, both major and minor
To learn more about outlining your upcoming novel, I highly recommend checking out the various resources offered by K.M. Weiland.
2). Track Your Progress
The thought of writing 50,000 words in one month sounds daunting. That alone can deter some writers. Tracking your progress is a great way to help combat this. Looking at those 50,000 words as 1,666-word sections is far less intimidating.
Using software to set daily writing goals is a fast and easy way to track your progress toward your larger goal. There are tons of ways you can track this, but I’ve had great success with ywriter, a free computer software.
Not only does it help you stay on track, but it also has built-in outlining capabilities and much more.
3). Find A Routine That Works
No two writers have the same routine. Some work best before the sun’s up. Others find the quiet of the night to be their most productive time. One of the most important things is finding a writing routine that fits best with your schedule.
Don’t have a chunk of time you can carve out of your day? Consider writing sprints! You’d be surprised how much you can get down in 20- or 30-minute writing sessions. See if you can fit these sprints throughout the day.
4). Join A NaNoWriMo Group
Things are always easier when you have a buddy to rely on. Joining a NaNoWriMo writing group can make a huge difference when it comes to your progress. Members of your group can provide early feedback, help you brainstorm when you’re stuck, and much more.
I’m part of a writing group, and I’ve found myself much more productive and motivated to write.
Not sure where to find a group? I’m happy to provide support. Just let me know, and I can create a NaNoWriMo group here!
5). Keep Going
Once December 1st rolls around and you have a 50,000-word manuscript you’re proud of, keep going! NaNoWriMo is just the start of all you’ll accomplish. Next comes the fun part of editing, enhancing your narrative and dialogue, and all that fun editing stuff.
Stay tuned for editing tips next month!
Get Ready & Get Writing
Are you ready to tackle NaNoWriMo this year? With these tips by your side, you’re sure to find the writing process a breeze.
Let me know what you’re planning to work on this year. Want to learn more? Let me know what questions you have about the writing process and I’ll provide any and all extra tips I have.