If you are a writer of any sort, you’ve likely heard of NaNoWriMo, the official abbreviated form of National Novel Writing Month.
NaNoWriMo is an annual writeathon in which writers from around the world attempt to write 50,000 words between the 01st and 30th of November. Founded by writer Chris Baty in 1999, NaNoWriMo has grown from twenty-one participants in its first year to hundreds of thousands of registered participants each year.
“50,000 words, you say? You must be crazy!”
No, dear reader. I am not.
NaNoWriMo encourages writers to put their words on paper first and focus on making things pretty and perfect later. The editing phase exists for a reason, and NaNoWriMo’s practice encourages writers to vomit their words onto their pages and polish it to gold later.
Think of it this way: Bob and David both decide to build homes. Bob works quickly on putting up a structure for the home, and then focuses on making the home look aesthetically-pleasing later. David decorates and fine-tunes the home as he puts up the structure, leading to a greater chance for something to go wrong and cause him to abandon the home before the structure is complete.
How many times have you started writing a book and found yourself stressed and worried over the simplest things (the right line of dialogue, the structure of a paragraph, how to get from A to B)? A lot, right? Now, how many times has that stress and pause in your work caused you to lose momentum, doubt yourself, and eventually abandon the project?
All authors have that special drive on their computer known as the “Book Graveyard”. It is filled with old projects of somewhere between one sentence and 200 pages in length that just did not make it in the end. Sometimes, a new version of a Graveyard project comes to life later on, but many of them just stay dead.
Churning out your content in a NaNoWriMo-style format dramatically reduces the odds of your book winding up in the Book Graveyard. You need to write approximately 1667 words per day. There is no time to sweat the small stuff.
I’ve spoken previously on this website about ways to overcome issues like writer’s block or getting stuck, but now, I would like to bring you this 12-day series: The 12 Days Of NaNoWriMo. Throughout this series, I will help you to develop this year’s NaNoWriMo project. The final article in this series will be posted on October 31st, 2019, just in time for you to GO, GO, GO!!
Many authors have successfully published their NaNoWriMo projects, including myself, Kayla Krantz, Alan Averill, and even Marissa Meyer. Toward the end of this series, I will walk you through the editing, publishing, and marketing processes so that you may join our ranks 🙂
And so, I will leave you with a piece of homework until we meet again tomorrow.
Pull up a document (whether digital or physical), and write down a basic idea for your NaNoWriMo project. DO NOT flesh it out just yet; just write down a simple idea. Examples include:
- A young girl hides a dark secret during World War II
- A strange concoction breaks in a science lab and leads to human/animal mutations
- A 50-year-old pregnant woman struggles to maintain her sense of normalcy
- A coming-of-age story for a frat boy
See? Easy-peasy, right?
Write down your simple idea and let it fester in your brain. Tomorrow, we will start turning this idea into a reality as we gear up for NaNoWriMo 2019.
For a sense of camaraderie (whether for NaNoWriMo or for writing in general…or to learn about other indie authors), I encourage you to join my Reader’s Nook on Facebook! It’s free and FUN 🙂