NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month is about to start again! Last year Val Healy gave us her progress reports in National Novel Writing Month Parts One, Two and Three and Jennifer Baker gave us a flavour of Nanowrimo Worldwide with some fabulous tips and links (well worth a read)
Will you accept the challenge this year?
National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000-word (approximately 175-page) novel by 11:59:59 PM on November 30.
Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.
As you spend November writing, you can draw comfort from the fact that, all around the world, other National Novel Writing Month participants are going through the same joys and sorrows of producing the Great Frantic Novel. Wrimos meet throughout the month to offer encouragement, commiseration, and—when the thing is done—the kind of raucous celebrations that tend to frighten animals and small children.
In 2011, NaNoWriMo had 256,618 participants and 36,843 of them crossed the 50K finish line by the midnight deadline, entering into the annals of NaNoWriMo superstardom forever. They started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.
Some Wrimos are already assembling character sheets and outlining their plot in detail. Others are planning to take their chances and see what ideas strike on Thursday. And some brave souls are piecing together their novels from dares they’ve found on the forums.
There is no right or wrong way to approach Nano. The objective is to enjoy the experience and to write for the sheer fun of it.
Here are a few hints that may help you on the way from the European Liaison, Ellen:
– Word count is king. For one month only, give yourself a holiday from worrying about quality and write for fun. Focus on getting words written, not on perfecting them. Lock up your internal editor and let loose!
– Don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone with the courage to take on a challenge like Nanowrimo is doing an amazing thing. If you try, you are a winner. You are on your own writing path. Enjoy the journey.
– There is a lot of support available, both on and offline. Online, there is the regional forum as well as the main fora – there is even a dedicated forum for novelists in distress, and ‘Genre Lounges’ where you can connect with Wrimos working in your favoured genre. Offline, in Dublin, there are weekly meetups on a Saturday at 2pm in the Library Bar or the Central Hotel on Exchequer Street (Dublin 2), and everyone is welcome to attend. If you are interested in meeting Wrimos in person, keep an eye on the regional forum for additional meetups that may be arranged during November.
You may work better with a supportive community, or you may be at your best working alone with a hot beverage and a notebook. Do what works for you, but remember the community is there if you want to reach out!
– Don’t give up! If you have a bad day and fall behind, don’t think that all is lost and abandon your novel. You can always catch up. Just keep novelling – every word is a little victory!
But above all, enjoy yourselves. NaNoWriMo is about immersing yourself in your dream of writing a novel, about following your passion, about giving yourself 30 days to pursue something just for you.
Find out more and sign up at the National Novel Writing Month website and find out how it works.