November of every year is National November Writing Month and if you are a writer of any kind of fiction or non-fiction or just want to try your hand in long prose, this is definitely the thing to sign up for.
(If you missed it, or didn’t know about it – they do a Camp NaNoWriMo in April and July every year too, so don’t fret! You haven’t really missed out.)
These people really know how to prep, prime and make you aware of all the ways that you can write.
This is where I learned about the Save the Cat! method (read my review HERE) and learned of Brandon Sanderson and his free Youtube lectures, among other tips and tricks through the NaNoWriMo community.
The goal of the month is to write a 50000 words project which may sound a lot, but, it’s also an achievable goal, if you think about a daily count of only 1667 words.
Not too bad after all, right?
You can break it down further, so for exmple you can write about 300 words a couple times a day (say, after breakfast, another during lunch break, and the rest during the evening sometime)
And of course I’ve seen people writing only during weekends, if they had too much commitment during the week.
Can’t write so much? Don’t fret. Any word count is cool to have at the end of each week. Just try and keep at it.
That is the real goal – consistency in writing, to form the habit.
So announce your project and have a go. You won’t regret it.
‘What is a word-sprint?’ you may ask.
Well, it is pretty much the fancy word for focused writing for a couple minutes, than noting the resulting word count. (so, for instance, write for 10 minutes without stopping and then you have a word count of 134 words). For more info – see Wikirimo.
It is a cool way to not just hold yourself accountable and ramp up your word count. You’re mostly going to write with others at the same time, but it’ll give you time to write your story without much thought about editing.
Which leads me to the next point.
As I said, edits are for after November, or after you actually finished your full first draft.
Once you have a tangible amount of your story, you will certainly need to revise. All that in good time, though.
November is about writing whatever comes out, in whatever way it comes out. It should not be perfect. NaNoWriMo is designed to help you produce a first draft – mostly.
Perfect it later. Quench the urge, don’t think, just write.
So you have been steadily working away during November, but you couldn’t make up your wordcount. Let me tell ya, I got stuck on 14000 words this year myself.
I’d say, sometimes the point, at least as the point became for me this year, is to get back to some of the creative roots that you’ve missed, or wanted to get back to.
I think participation is more key here, and whether you end up with the full 50000 words or no, be proud of yourself.
You’ve committed to something new, gotten back something you thought you lost, or you’ve discovered your new strength.
So what you didn’t finish within the month. You have the potential of finishing.
And that, my friend, is way more important!
So… you’ve a number that you have at the end of the month. The story? It may be prefect, but quite frankly, it may be completely off the rack.
You thought, going into this month’s writing, that you are a planner (you plan out all beforehand), a plantser (you plan some, then write out the rest as you go) or a pantser (you only need the basics, the rest you’ll make up while writing).
You’ll make mistakes either way. (I used to think I was a plantser – how utterly WRONG I was – god me, I am planner through and through!)
Whatever mistakes you made along the way – you will learn from them. No plot? No structure? Flat character? maybe you wanna read some books about it (links below)⤵️
I highly believe in learning by doing, so if you made mistakes? Good! That’s a good sign that you’ve tried your hand the best you could, and now you have some stuff to work with and work out.
I’ve gone into my month knowing about NaNoWriMo 3 days before it started. I was lucky, as I had a story on hand that I could start working on. Still, as I said, I only got a fraction of the story done.
I have, however, picked up good knowledge along the way, which to me, makes it all the way worth the process.
I’ve agonised over whether the story is good enough, whether I have the stamina, whether I can write at all.
Let me tell you though: if I can do it – after a decade of break – you can do whatever the heck you like too!
We can be whatever we want to be. Whatever we put our minds to.
So if you missed out on November – don’t fret. There is 30 days in most months of the year, take your pick, and do what you can. Here is some helpful tips to prep yourself .
Otherwise, keep an eye on Camp NaNoWriMo, coming up next year, to get ready for November 2021.
It is never too late to tell your story. And guess what! Only YOU can tell YOUR story.
Have fun and may we all have satisfying conversations,
Books to read/buy:
Save the Cat! Writes A Novel by Jessica Brody
No Plot? No Problem by Chris Baty
Ready. Set. Novel! by Baty, Grant & Stewart-Streit