As an aspiring author, creativity runs through my body under the disguise of blood, and the naive part of my mind likes to think that there is a writer squirrelled away in everyone, no matter how deep down. NaNoWriMo, otherwise known as National Novel Writing Month occurs during the month of November, and poses the challenge for writers all over the world to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Now, before you all attack me for posting about something that sounds so impossible, I think it should be said that once you get the maths done right, this does not sound as half as daunting as it may appear…
If you divide 50,000 words by 30 days, you get an average of 1667 words a day, which is not too bad… Still don’t like the sound of this? Well if you write this is manageable chunks of 500 words around four times during the day, you could end up with more than your daily average; 2,000 words. NaNo allows writers to end with a rough draft by the end of the month, and you do not have to stop at 50,000! If you plan on writing a longer novel, you could even go for more. Some of you may be wondering how 50,000 words could qualify as a novel, but it is significantly wordier than your average novella of 40,000… The Great Gatsby was around 50,000 words. Who knows… you could end up with something quite brilliant… So, to keep all those participating motivated enough to get through the 30 days, here are some helpful tips I have acquired in my arsenal while writing. Also, make your NaNoWriMo account now on nanowrimo.org to take part in this month of amazingness!!
1) Do not get ahead of yourself!! You will no doubt start the month with a huge smile on your face, and a noggin brimming with half formed ideas. You might even manage 5,000 words on your first day, 7,000 words on your second, and 9,000 words on your third! STOP RIGHT THERE. This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. The only thing you will be achieving through this method, is burning yourself out much earlier than you anticipated. By day 5, you’ll be staring at your computer screen, and your mind will resemble the Sahara desert. By sticking to the word count, you are presenting yourself with a goal to stick to; this method gives the mind something to work towards, and a feeling of achievement when completed.
2) Stop at a crucial moment. Similar to the previous tip, stopping your daily writing at a crucial moment when you have lots of ideas gives you something to build upon the next day. Often, spontaneous ideas are the ones we edit out of our manuscript revision, and giving yourself until the next day to think them through allows you to develop them into something more sophisticated. Also, it’s better than writing down all your ideas and then having nothing to work from the next day because you’re burnt out. Allow yourself the foundation to build ideas as opposed to constructing a barrier against yourself.
3) Do not over plan. Some people benefit from plans, others don’t. The best thing you can do for NaNo is create a brief sketch of your vision for the novel; this could be characters, plot, setting, backstory… but do not over plan to the point where you feel as though your plan isn restricting your creativity. Spur of the moment writing can be in need of revision, but it can also be beautiful. Writers often incorporate their emotions and anecdotes into their story, and cannot do so if they are being held back by words on a paper. That plan can be your best friend during this month, but it can also be your enemy…
4) Turn off your wifi. For the love of God, turn off your wifi while writing! I obviously learned this the hard way, which is why I am hear advising you to keep away from the internet. I often find myself straying to Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, all when I am supposed to be writing. That five minutes of internet time you promised yourself will very quickly turn into nine hours without you realising what just happened. Only allow yourself to turn the wifi back on when you have completed your daily word count.
I really hoped this helped any of you who may be taking part this year, please do comment below and let me know what you think and whether this post inspired you to get involved!!