Are you a writer? Do you have a novel that you are working on? Do you want to put some pressure on yourself to get that novel finished sooner rather than later?
Then NaNoWriMo is right for you!
I have discussed NaNoWriMo (or National Novel Writing Month) in a couple of posts before but since it is fast approaching this year, I thought I would talk a little bit about what we can do to prepare for the intense month of writing that NaNoWriMo is.
In case you forgot (or didn't get a chance to read my previous posts), NaNoWriMo is a Non-Profit organization that is committed to writers (particularly young writers). They host a number of events throughout the year that encourage writers to motivate themselves toward their writing goals but their most popular event (and the event from which their name stems) is the one which is held in November. For this event, writers commit to a goal of at least 50,000 words on their novel to be completed within the bounds of the month of November.
Though some writers will start early and some may finish late, the goal of this event remains the same: to motivate writers to achieve their goal of completing a novel.
For me, NaNoWriMo was particularly helpful in pushing me to complete different novels at certain times in my life. I plan to participate this year with the second novel in my Once Upon a Tome series The Beauty. If you are a writer with an incomplete novel at any stage, I encourage you to participate as well.
So what exactly does participating involve?
Well, you can do as much or as little as you want to participate in these events. At the very least, it is expected that you update your word count on the NaNoWriMo site as you go. This helps NaNoWriMo to track your progress. When you do this accurately, NaNoWriMo is also able to provide you with data like how many more words you have left for your goal, and how many words you'll need to write a day to complete the goal within the month.
If you want to take it a bit further, you might prepare for the event.
I personally like to have a plan when I go into the event. A while ago, I wrote a post on NaNoWriMo's labels for the levels of planning that can go into writing. You can read that post here. Essentially, NaNoWriMo has three levels of planning:
Planner: someone who plans things out down to the outline of the chapter or even more.
Pantser: someone who goes in with nothing more than a general idea of what their story is about and who their characters are.
Plantser: someone who plans their story out a bit (maybe with an outline) but who doesn't plan out the smaller details.
I like to have a general outline for my books when I go to write them. This helps me to keep the plot on track while still allowing for inspiration to strike and my writing to flowing the moment. For me, prepping for NaNoWriMo includes gathering some of my materials together.
For example, I have already written an outline for The Beauty but before I begin to write it, I will want to print it out and make it easily accessible online and in a physical folder for the book. I also like to have my "book ideas" on hand. These are the random ideas, sentences, scene/person descriptors, or even exact quotes that come to my mind when I'm not writing (often when I'm about to fall asleep). I like to work out where they might be placed in the book and sort them out accordingly. Finally, I make sure I have an inspiration board for the scenery, people, and other elements in my book and ensure I have easy access to this as well.
But there are also other ways you can prep for NaNoWriMo and for every writer, the process will be a little bit different. This year, NaNoWriMo has a six-week prep course leading up to the event that you can access online. See how on the NaNoWriMo calendar here.
NaNoWriMo also offers plenty of ways to connect with other writers like you to allow discussion to flow and ideas to spring up. You can also motivate one another to keep writing and those in groups and/or "regions" can join their writing totals together to compare to other regions/groups. I belong to the Redding group, within the California group within the USA group. I also created my own group called "fairytale twists" which is a group for writers of fairytale twist novels. You can join that group here.
If you haven't already, I truly recommend signing up for NaNoWriMo this year. The event is totally free and is a great way to motivate yourself to finish that novel that has been sitting on the back burner for too long.