Tuesday, October 9, 2012

How to Do NaNoWriMo Next Month

  We are all super-busy. We all have too much on our plates. We are all one bad day away from crying in the supermarket because they don't have our favorite brand of potato chips. It happens. Life is overwhelming. Life is busy. So, taking on such a project, 50,000 words in 30 days, on top of all your other responsibilities, is no small task.
    But it's worth it. If you're a writer, or want to be, the novel is the ultimate achievement. Publishable or not, published or not, a single creative work of that magnitude is something to be proud of. But how to do it?  How can you possibly find the time to write a novel when you have so much other stuff to do?
For the why, read 5 Reasons to Do NaNoWriMo Next Month.

Here's how, in 5 steps.

  1. Say YES. 
    You can't write a novel if you don't say yes to writing one in the first place. This means telling everybody you know that you're writing it. Tweeting, Facebooking, calling up old friends, new friends, grandparents, or whoever, and telling the entire world that you are saying yes to your dream of writing a novel.
  2. Start planning.
    You need an idea. It doesn't have to be a big idea. It doesn't have to be sexy or action-packed or literary genius. It just needs to be an idea that you can tell a 50,000 word story about. That may seem like a tall order, but if you choose something interesting, something you can have fun with, it's not as tall as it seems. You can do a mind map (big bubbles on a piece of notebook paper with characters names and bits of plot steps or backstory, connected with squiggly lines), you can write an outline (I.A.1.a.i.), or you can just take your idea and run with it. It's up to you.
  3. Start writing!
    When November 1 arrives (and not a moment before--honor system!), get your butt in gear. Rehearse upcoming scenes in the shower. Write while you eat breakfast. Skip your television shows, or write while you watch. Plan your next big scene on the drive home (in your head, of course--don't write and drive!). Wherever you have to steal a few minutes to write your book, do it. That's the only way you're going to finish if your schedule is especially tight.  
  4. Keep writing! 
    Yeah, it's not that original, but it's necessary. Once you get going, you might feel tempted to give up. Don't do it. Keep writing. If you fall behind schedule--NaNo time asks for an average of 1,667 words a day--DON'T PANIC. Use your weekends to your full advantage. You can find time to catch yourself up. Snow day? Use it to write! Come down with the flu? Bring your laptop to bed and write. Whatever you have to do, this contest will teach you to use your time well if nothing else!
  5. Use the NaNo resources.
    NaNo offers a TON of resources to participants: inspirational and motivational emails called pep talks from your local municipal liaisons and guest writers; forums for writers based on various topics, genres, and locations; write-ins organized by the liaisons; videos, blogs, and tips from writers around the world to help you keep your novel going. With their help, you can power through and get your 50,000 words. 
    It is possible to write 50,000 words in a month. I've done it 3 times, and thousands more do it every year. I'm a little nervous for the first time this year because I have never been working on so many writing-related projects at the same time, but I still think I've got it in me to go for number 4. I may have to cut back temporarily on blogging (including Insistent and Persistent), TV, Twitter, and Triberr--my biggest time-sucks--but I think I can still do it. And you can too.
YOU wrote it all night long! 

Sign up at www.NaNoWriMo.org and get going on your novel!

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