October days seem to be flying by and that means that National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is right around the corner. I’ve known about NaNoWriMo for a while, but this is the first year that I’ll be diving in full throttle.
For those that don’t know NaNoWriMo is a writing challenge that takes place every November. The goal is to get down 50,000 words (the considered minimum length of a novel) within 30-days. This means that if you have any chance of making it happen you need to crank out at least 1,668 words a day, every day, for 30 days straight.
I think the biggest factor for me in tackling this challenge is giving myself the daily time to hit my word count and the internal grit to keep going every single day. For the first time in my life I think I can build in the time. Now it’s just a question about grit.
Author G. Jefferies over at Fiction is Food took part in his first ever NaNoWriMo last year and offers some thoughts and insights for anyone trying to take it on in 2017. Jefferies lays it on the line with the stakes, but also provides some much needed perspective with what NaNoWriMo is really all about:
Be prepared for the story to die on you. I’m not saying it will, but if it starts to lose appeal, NaNoWriMo is unforgiving . . . Consider a story that flops at 10k. You can drift into a chasm lined with failure, can’t write, lost the challenge, waste of time… Or, you can turn it round. Better to explore an idea and find it doesn’t hold you sooner rather than later.
Being realistic about the difficulties in drafting a novel in month while keeping the challenge fun and positive is a balanced approached that I’ve found very helpful as I’ve made the decision to dive into my first NaNoWriMo.
One of the big pieces of advice that I’m working to take to heart is:
Accept it’s a first draft too. Nothing matters except getting the bones of the story down. You can plan forever, but it’s the words that matter. Remember there is no time to sit and rework material . . . Words matter, thinking about words after the start doesn’t. That moment has gone and it’s time to write.
I’m spending the next few weeks getting my ideas and outlining done so that way on November 1st I can hit the ground running and start getting the words out. My posting here might be a little more sparse, but I do want to make sure I’m posting my current word count whenever I can. My success in NaNoWriMo is going to come less from hitting 50k words by November 30th, and more about making an earnest attempt at taking on the challenge.
Expect more posts about NaNoWriMo over the next couple of weeks with as many tips, tricks, and strategies as I can find. If you’re taking on NaNoWriMo this year, reach out and let me know. We’ll all be trying to get the words out together.