As Halloween draws closer and closer, writers across the world are taking their last breath of fresh air for the next thirty days. National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) begins this week and asks a simple task of its participants: write a 50,000-word novel in one month.
It may sound like an impossible feat, but as someone who completed November 2011 with a fresh novel, I can confirm that it is very doable, as long as you keep to a few simple rules.
1. Plan ahead
2. Be prepared to change that plan
3. Schedule your writing
Don't assume you'll find the time to write every day. You need to have a time in mind when you'll be able to sit down and write. It doesn't have to be a specific number on the clock every day. It can just be "after dinner" or "after I finish this homework" or "after I make this phone call." Just know when you're going to write by the end of the day.
4. Don't edit as you write
5. If you get stuck, skip ahead
Writer's block seems to thrive right when you need to write most. If it hits during NaNoWriMo, skip the scene you're writing. Jump forward to another checkpoint that you know you can write. Write a scene you're excited to get to. The most important thing to remember is to just keep moving.
6. Update your NaNoWriMo profile often
Some don't use NaNoWriMo's website to track their progress, but making a free account there can be worth it. Seeing the graph on your profile take a step up every day as you update your word count will make you feel good and inspire you to keep it ticking.
7. Get your friends to join you
The only year every one of my friends finished NaNoWriMo was the year we all decided to complete it together. While completing your novel will feel good, it will feel even better to beat your friends. Tracking your progress against others will inspire you to keep going. It doesn't even need to be people you know in real life, it could be other writers in your town's NaNoWriMo community, or just other people online. You can even add me to your buddies over here.
I'll see you at the end of November.