Posts Tagged With: NaNoWriMo

Should You NaNoWriMo?

That time is about here – NaNoWriMo. It’s the big talk of the town in the writing word. So many of my writer friends have or plan to do it. The process is tedious and the rewards are – well, for me just bragging rights. But I’m sure there are more rewards. What is NaNoWriMo anyway? You sign up on the website and try to write a novel in thirty days during the month of November. How many words? 50,000, no more, no less. Just so you know, 50,000 is the minimum word count for a novel. So you’re likely thinking, “Man! That’s a lot to write in just one month!” And you’re right to think that. It’s a big task, and many people start only to give up half way through November.

So if you want to do NaNoWriMo, you need to understand a few things. It’s a big commitment. 50,000 words in thirty days is a lot of writing, so you need to know how much you can realistically write in that time. You’ll be writing everyday, including weekends, if you want to make the deadline. So you can bet that you’ll be writing anywhere from 1500 to 2000 words a day. You also need to have a lot of free time. If you’re in school full time, you have enough writing to do, so you may want to rethink NaNoWriMo. School is, after all, more important. In general, you’ll need to commit to writing in the evening after work into the wee hours. You may have to write during your lunch break. Another thing is that you’ll have to have your story planned out, or at least know your story and characters enough to carry a 50,000 novel. One thing to note is that NaNoWriMo expects you to write a new story. You can’t write a story that you have been writing before the start date. The organization wants you to write from scratch, and that is the whole purpose of it.

So you should participate in NaNoWriMo if:

  • you can commit to 50,000 words in one month
  • you want to test your skills as a serious writer
  • break out into the writing world and achieve initial recognition
  • you have a solid story in mind and you know your characters
  • you possess strong time management skills

Sadly, I won’t be participating this year. I’m a graduate student and I have enough writing to do as it is. Plus I have a novel and a novella on the go and I like to work on them in my spare time. I hope to try it someday, but it will only be when I know that I can make the commitment. If you decide to participate, I wish you the very best of luck and hope you successful in it.

If you want more information visit NaNoWriMo.

Categories: Writing & Inspiration | Tags: , , , ,

Planning for NaNoWriMo

It’s that time of year again. No, I’m not talking about Halloween. I mean that time when aspiring, prolific writers from all over prepare to put pen to the paper for NaNoWriMo during the month of November. It’s pretty simple: write a 50,000-word novel in thirty days in hopes of winning a prize. I’m going to be honest. I don’t know what that prize is, so rather than lie to you all and hope I don’t get caught in the you-know-what, I’ll just admit I don’t what the prize is and leave it at that.

What I do know is that NaNoWriMo is a great way for writers to break out into the writing world and hopefully have a chance at bragging that ‘They did it!’ Am I doing NaNoWriMo? Well, in addition to my job as a teacher and director, and my personal life, I’m stuyding for a graduate school entrance exam. Not to mention the fact that I’m trying to finish my debut novel by the end of the year. So in short, no I won’t. I know right away I’ll never be able to start and finish a 50K novel in one month. I’m just being realistic. And you need to be realistic if you want to succeed in NaNoWriMo. After all, participating in it is like trying to fulfill your New Year’s resolution of getting in shape; you try it for ten days and end up falling off the mountain.

I’ve met a lot of writers in the past that said they wanted to try NaNo and then give up within two weeks. Even though I’m not participating this year, I’d like to share with you some tips to help you succeed in this year’s NaNoWriMo.

  1. Know thy characters inside and out. These are the driving forces in any story and if they are not real to you, they won’t be to the readers. Even though you only have thirty days, you still need to know your characters.
  2. Know your goals for NaNoWriMo. Why are you participating? Are you participating for the right reasons? Goals will help you stay focused and motivated during the month of intensive creative writing. Remind yourself of your goals whenever you start to doubt your story.
  3. Word count. As I said, it’s 50K in thirty days, so plan accordingly. Plan to write at least 3,000 words a day, and you’ll need to use every free moment you have in a day. Try writing for an hour before you go to work; during your lunch hour; and finally one hour before you go to bed. You’ll need to plan the evening writing right if you have children. Above all, YOU SHOULD WRITE EVERYDAY! 300 words is better than 0 words.
  4. Know what is going to happen chapter by chapter. Since you have less time to write, you should know what exactly is going to happen in every chapter before you hit the keyboard.
  5. Don’t worry about the ending. To my knowledge, the ending isn’t so important for NaNoWriMo. As long as the story hits the 50K mark, you’re OK. If you can’t write the ending, try to end your story at a point that will make the reader want to know more. I suggest making it just past the climax, when the story is at its highest point.

 

So best of luck to all of you in this year’s NaNoWriMo. Maybe next year I’ll participate. But I do stress the ‘Maybe’. I have no ideal where I’ll be at in a year from now.

Categories: Writing & Inspiration | Tags: , , , , , ,

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