NaNoWriMo, otherwise known as National Novel Writing Month, has officially begun. However, if you haven’t recently lost a friend to a computer or laptop, you probably are only vaguely - or not even at all - aware of its existence. National Novel Writing Month takes place on November first and ends on November 30th. Writers from all over the world are invited to freely sign up and attempt to type a novel with a minimum of 50,000 words during this time period.
That’s about 1,667 words each day, for thirty days.
Whether you are a veteran or a beginner, this task at first will seem doable. You and a million others are excited to enthusiastically start typing away. You practically have a plethora of ideas and interminable energy. But when the days begin to stretch, you will doubtlessly begin to regret joining this self-imposed nightmare. However, it’s okay. You subconsciously knew that this regret was going to sneak in sooner or later. So just think about the end result. Feel accomplished and in the words of Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle, remember to:
NaNoWriMo can be an enjoyable experience. It disciplines and prepares you for future deadlines, and writing other papers will almost seem like no hassle at all; you will have written a novel in a month – you will basically become Superman/Wonder Woman when it comes to papers. Besides that, you get bragging rights for accomplishing such a feat in the first place, because not many would ever dare try such task. Whether it is because they aren’t able to or are sane enough to preserve their sanity, just know that you are unique for even trying to tackle a project like this.
Saying that, it is also common knowledge that you would still rather avoid the slumps and stress that can come with writing a novel in a month. Well worry not, because here’s a few tips to aid you in your writing.
First and foremost, make sure you have a plot in mind before November hits. Going with your “gut” might work, but for the most part, you are better off having a nice general plot stored in your head. Not to say that you should restrict yourself to it, deviating from what you originally have mapped out is fine, but going in completely directionless as to where you want your novel to go will ultimately prove very challenging - especially when you encounter that infamous, “Writer’s Block.”
Also, refrain yourself from analyzing your story too deeply and going crazy with the grammar. The primary goal of each day is to meet the word count while subsequently making sure you’re on track with where you want your story to go. Proofreading anything you’ve written in the past day or hour can prove detrimental to both your progress and mental health. You will inevitably cringe and glower at some plot holes and grammatical errors, but it is best to save that revision time for when November is finished. Typing around 1,600 words a day is tough as it is, and no one is going to expect you to have a perfect novel by the end of the month. (Unless you are some kind of writing wiz, that is.)
Another thing to keep in mind is that you should have a confidant to support and hear you out during this journey. Mutely screaming at your screen or agonizing about your novel to random people in the local café will not help alleviate the stress or burden that you may feel along the way. Take advantage of the NaNoWriMo community forums and find others to share the pressure with. Who knows? Talking to others may even inspire you.
But lastly, just enjoy.
NaNoWriMo isn’t a necessary obligation that you should trade over for other responsibilities. If you are a few hundred behind the daily word count, then just let it be. Don’t let the novel control your life – let your life control the novel! Find inspiration in the daily things you do and write only when you have time, even if it that means just a few sentences typed on your phone.
So breathe, relax, and most importantly –