Someone recently asked me who Tennessee’s most famous author is. Naturally I answered that it would be me one day. Makes sense, but in order to become a top writer I have to actually write. At The Peacock Quill I spend most of my time working with other authors, polishing their work and making it shine before it lands on a publisher’s desk. And although I’ve had some of my own work published along with several collaborative writing projects, that one book, the one that takes up more space in my mind than any others, is still not out of my head and on the bookstore shelf. It’s time for that to change, and the very thing that will push me forward in this goal is National Novel Writing Month.
NaNoWriMo, as it’s known endearingly in the writing community, is just what it says: the writing of a novel in a month’s time; 1,667 words per day for a total of 50,000 words—all of which are unedited. And yes, as the name suggests, this experience is geared toward fiction novels; however, this year I’ll be joining the #NaNoWriMoRebels: the rogue, don’t-tell-me-I-can’t-write-nonfiction assembly of writers. The concept is essentially the same for the Rebels, although word count and a few other leniencies are allowed. I won’t get into the specifics here; instead, I encourage you to read about the history of NaNoWriMo and join this fascinating community if you’ve got a book — novel, memoir, etc., clawing its way out of your head like mine is.
Here are some simple tips for a successful NaNoWriMo experience:
1. Preparation! Decide whether your novel is character-centered or plot-centered; doing so will help you prepare how you will write ahead of time.
- Determine who your audience is and create a rough plot development, including characters, setting, conflict, and resolution. Now you have an outline to follow as you dive into your month of writing.
2. Community! The NaNoWriMo organization offers local and online writing meet ups and hangouts to foster support and encouragement along the way with fellow participants.
- Register on the NaNoWriMo website to find your local community. You are not alone in this!
3. Survival! You will SURVIVE, but you can prepare and equip yourself to THRIVE this month!
- Use a white board to plot, create, dump, color code, and whatever else it takes for you to visualize your story.
- Snacks — Stock up on energizing, healthy snacks to sustain you. There will be time you feel tired, uninspired, and experience major writer’s block. This is normal! Caring for yourself and your nutrition will help combat any negative effects.
4. Write every day! Remember, this is unedited writing.
- Now is the time to just get your thoughts and ideas down.
- You are only competing against yourself; if you hit 50,000 words by the end of the month, you win!
- Writing the suggested 1,667 words every day is a manageable and achievable goal.
Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this November? What tips do you have for your fellow writers?