Why You Should Participate in National Novel Writing Month and How to Prepare
I use Grammarly’s plagairism checker online because you’re going to write 50,000 words in one month and they all have to beÂ yours! Â You never know when tidbits of something you’ve read will creep, however unintentionally, into your own work. Â Many writers don’t read work in their own genre while actively writing, and some read only craft books. Â If you are planning on participating in NaNoWriMo decide now what your rules will be and stick to them. Â Â Grammarly is also an excellent resource for after November is over and your first draft is done. Â There will be a lot of tidying up to do, and Grammarly can save you lots of time.
Sign up at NaNoWriMo.org and announce to the world that you’ve done so. Â It’s like announcing that you’re on a diet – the people around you will hold you accountable. Â Talk friends into doing it with you – again, it’s like a diet – easier if you’re not going it alone.
Plot your novel, develop your characters, do any necessary research. Â I have an app I love called A Novel Idea where I keep plotlines, character descriptions, scene ideas, etc. Â Right now I’ve got stuff for about five different books in there. Â Not enough details to write five books, mind you, but the ideas are all arranged in one convenient place when I need them. Â There’s lots of software out there, both free and easy and complex and pricey. Â There’s nothing wrongÂ with paper and pen, post-its on a corkboard, or colored Sharpies on a posterboard. Â Plan the way that makes sense to you.
Create the time to write. Â Of course you don’t have the extra time to write well over a thousand words a day. Â Hire a cleaning service to come in twice in November or lower your standards of cleanliness for one month (I’m lowering my standards). Â Buy a big tub of peanut butter and warn your family they’ll be fending for themselves or cook and freeze extra meals during October. Â Alert your co-workers that you won’t be signing up to work extra in November, and don’t volunteer for any committees. Â Take a look at every item on your schedule and ask yourself if it’s really vital that you do it that particular month. Â Skip your book club meeting, but not your writing group meeting. Â If you’re part of a critique group take a one-month break. Â Buy extra underwear – laundry’s not going to get done as often.
Read a craft book or take an online class in October. Â I’m going to re-read Goal, Motivation, Conflict by Debra Dixon and reviewing my notes from a Mary Buckman class on Pacing.
NaNo is a sprint, not a marathon. Â Keep that in mind. Â At the end you will have a rough first draft of a novel. Â There will be grammar and punctuation mistakes that make you cringe, way too many adverbs, a lot of “telling” that needs to be “showing”, and at the very least your hero’s hair will be a different color in the beginning and the end. Â Hopefully you’ll remain in the same Point of View, but if you don’t then you can decide which POV is better later. Â You cannot go back and edit, make changes and repairs – none of that. Â You will be writing straight though and then taking a chainsaw to your manuscript after it’s done. Â And it might not be as bad as you think.
Set aside specific times every day for writing. Â When are you at your most creative? Â Some people get up early to write, some stay up late. Â I’m more a mid-day person myself. Â The last time I successfully completed NaNo I was working full-time. Â I would write for thirty minutes while I ate my lunch every day – those words add up.
Prepare to save your data. Â What if you’re writing the best scene in the entire book and your computer dies? Â Set timers and backup your WIP regularly. Â I back up to a thumb drive as well as Dropbox.com, because I did lose a thumb drive once during a tornado warning. Â I found it in the basement a week later, but that was a stressful week.
Be open to the excitement of a truly supportive environment. Â The only thing I can think to compare it to is if you’ve ever run a race where people are packed along the race route, cheering on every stranger who runs by. Â It’s awesome.
Life happens. Â The last time I tried to do NaNo I couldn’t complete it. Â I didn’t even come close. Â The “why” doesn’t matter. Â What does matter is that I tried, I cheered on those who made it all the way to 50,000 words, and I’m ready to try again this year. Â So who wants to write a book?
I’m sharing this post on Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little Blessings.
*This is a sponsored post but all opinions expressed are, as always, mine.