NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, is going to be starting the 1st of November. If it starts in a month, why am I talking about it now? Well, because this is the best time you’ll have to A) Learn about NaNoWriMo if you haven’t before and/or B) Start getting prepped for the the when November does roll around.
So what is NaNoWriMo anyhow? It’s a month dedicated to trying to write a novel — well, more simply put, a work of fiction 50,000 words long (as a minimum for “winning”). This can be a compilation of short stories, vignettes, an entire novel, what have you — so long as it is original and fiction. Rules state that the 50,000 words should be of new material, although no one can really police this, and the writing shouldn’t start before November 1st. This doesn’t mean that preparation can’t be done ahead of time though!
I said “winning” and this isn’t in reference to Charlie Sheen — at all. Winning is defined as reaching the goal of 50,000 words, which is 1667 words a day if you’re going to pace yourself that way. Winning doesn’t mean you’re automatically going to get published (I’m still working on refining a draft I started a few years ago. My goal is to have it in published by the end of 2012) but it does mean you have a good start of a full length publishable story. Alsom the folks at CreateSpace offer a free proof copy of your story and Scrivner offers 50% off of their writing software for Mac or Windows. There are some perks, but I think the biggest reward is pushing yourself and accomplishing something you may not have done without the extra push.
Stay with me this month for tips on how to get ready for NaNoWrimo. I have a series prepared including topics on outlining and preparation tips, writing tools and free software to help you stay organized ahead of time and, in November, writing prompts and other exercises to help form ideas or just get some writing practice in and motivation to keep going. It’s a fun and incredibly stressful month, but by starting early you can reduce some of that stress. Believe me, I am talking from experience. 50,000 words is incredibly difficult, but not impossible to do in a month. I have never won, but I am certainly going to attempt again this year. Are you participating? Have any good tips to share with others? If you want to be writing buddies, add me! My name is Kellykinns.
I always think about doing NaNoWriMo, but I can never get over my internal editor enough to just write full-out that many days and that many words without needing to go back and “fix” things ;) I’m still in editing rounds for my novel right now, so that will likely be my focus for the Fall to Winter months. Maybe one year I’ll take up the challenge of NaNoWriMo, though!