National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo is a month-long marathon for writers all of backgrounds to complete a 50,000 word novel during November. Annually about 500,00 people register to write a novel and thanks to a community of support, about 15% of those people write 50,000 word novels. A 50,000 word novel can seem a little daunting but executive director of NanoWriMo, Grant Faulkner has these tips:
1) Go on a time hunt: A lot of people say they just don’t have the time to write a novel in a month, but most of us have more time than we think. Toni Morrison was a single working parent before she was a novelist. After putting her kids to bed, she’d write for 15 minutes each day, even if she was tired, and that was how she completed her first book. Before November, track what you do on a typical day. Figure out what you can give up in order to find the time to write. Cut out TV? Wake up an hour earlier or stay up an hour later? Write during lunch? Write on the subway? All of the above? You have more time than you think. And what will you remember more later in life–the TV shows you watched in November 2013 or the novel you wrote?
2) Build accountability: You can build accountability by signing a blood pact with yourself. Or you can adopt a more effective strategy: risk public shaming. Tell your friends and family that you’re writing a novel in November. Post your word counts on Facebook and Twitter. You don’t want to see people in December and face their questions about your novel if you gave up.
3) Simplify your life. You’re going to have to say no to things in order to accomplish any grand task. You might have to skip that weekend getaway or Saturday night party to hit your word count. Or you might have to order take-out sometimes. Remember: there’s plenty of time to clean your house in December.
4) Reward yourself for milestones: NaNoWriMo might be an endurance test, but it’s also a writing party. Figure out a reward for each 10,000 words you complete. It could be as simple as dancing to your favorite YouTube video. Some treat themselves to banana splits. Others have gotten tattoos. One man bought a boa constrictor. Whatever works for you.
5) Show up: No explanation needed. You might miss one day of writing, but try not to miss two. Remember what Woody Allen said: “90% of success is just showing up.”
6) Write with others: Writing doesn’t have to be a solitary, drudgerous affair. NaNoWriMo has volunteers in more than 500 regions around the world who organize local writing events. Finding a community of encouraging support does wonders for any creative enterprise.
Find more about the goings on in your region on the NaNoWriMo site: http://nanowrimo.org/en/regions