November is not so far, and writers worldwide are gearing up for their most-awaited time of the year that puts their creativity to test, not on a single day or week but throughout a month.
As sweaters and mittens start popping up everywhere, individuals are all over the Internet searching for tips and tricks to crack the challenge. You are on the right page as I would be suggesting the best practical tips to make it a winning spree for the writer in you.
What is NaNoWriMo?
NaNoWriMo is a non-profit organization that conducts a writing event annually where participants need to write a 50,000-word novel between November 1 and November 30.
What started as a petty challenge between 21 friends in the year 1999 grew on to become a globally-acclaimed writing marathon inspiring the interest and passion of thousands of budding writers worldwide to participate in the event.
NaNoWriMo is the acronym for National Novel Writing Month and stands as the pillar of creativity, transformation, and encouragement.
It helps people to come forward to put their thought processes on paper, achieve desired goals, and establish a new world for themselves with their writing skills.
How to Prepare for NaNoWriMo?
It takes writers years together to churn out a novel that’s classy and compelling to read. Yet the NaNoWriMo motivates individuals to spin out a 50,000-word novel in just a month.
Though you cannot begin your fresh draft until the 1st of November (I would be discussing the rules below), it doesn’t imply that you must keep your fingers crossed until then doing nothing.
Finishing a 50,000 novel is not everyone’s cup of tea, and every year thousands of participants flock up and participate; not all of them finish it successfully.
So, let me take you through the preparation process that’s fundamental to anyone wishing to participate in the NaNoWriMo event.
Firstly, NaNoWriMo is about finishing a novel more than coming up with a classic book that finally lands on every reader’s desk.
Get prepared ahead of time for the upcoming challenge using the cues given below.
1. Storyline is Crucial
You could get a hang of the writing process by firstly borrowing a plot and writing a summary of your top 3 stories, including integral characters, bringing in the major plot turns, and elaborating various scenes.
Be clear on what your story is going to be about and realize how you would be taking it forward.
2. Sketch Strong Characters
Characters are the lifeline to any novel, and a great plot depends mostly on well-organized characters that are original and inspired by thoughts.
Question yourself about each of the characters that you introduce in the novel and give them a unique identity.
Understand your characters, their motives, and personalities to help the story move forward.
I recommend you get a sharp insight into each of the characters you would be developing before the start of November to establish a stable footing of your characterization.
3. Come Up with a Detailed Plot & Settings
Try randomly coming up with different plots and make a note of what’s perfect for you.
The setting of a novel is where the story evolves. Try different settings that help enhance the mood of your novel. Sparkle the reader’s emotional thrills and connect with the audience by elaborating well on the settings.
It could be a fantasy world or an eerie silence, but be detailed about it to take your readers to another world.
4. Organize Your Life
Writing a novel doesn’t mean that your day-to-day life comes to a standstill.
You can skip on your daily chores and responsibilities that might otherwise deter your writing process. Make way for a particular writing time during the entire month of November by organizing the pettiest of things in life.
For instance, you could stock up all the groceries needed for the entire month and cook straightforward recipes that take minimal time to prepare.
Create a designated writing space for yourself to sit and write throughout the month and make it as vibrant as possible with good lighting and motivating insights to bring about a positive feel.
Keep your life as organized and distraction-free as possible to focus and direct all your energy on writing the 50,000-word novel through November.
The rules are pretty straightforward. You are supposed to start writing your fresh draft (or completely rewrite an old draft) after midnight in your local time on November 1st.
You are allowed to plan and outline your novel before November. Truthfully, this is even encouraged all the time. The only strict rule is that you are forbidden to continue writing a previously started novel that has the characters established, the plot set, and the storyline outlined.
What Are the Prizes for Nanowrimo?
If you are curious about the prize, I am glad to tell you that every writer who completes a 50,000-word novel during the set period is a winner of the event.
The event doesn’t set a maximum limit on the number of winners, which is truly inspiring in every regard. Once you have completed the word count requirement, you must upload the novel to the NaNoWriMo website to verify the word count.
Once you upload and the word count is past 50,000, you will receive a 50K badge that establishes your completion.
All you need to do is to click the badge and become an official winner. The event has several generous sponsors who reward writers with participation and winner goodies.
But I am sure that for each of you planning to participate in the contest, the actual prize would be the satisfaction of drafting a 50,000+ word novel, a feeling of fulfillment of having completed the challenge successfully and being blessed to see the brand-new draft of the novel.
You can proudly call yourself a novel writer, indeed!
NaNoWriMo Winning Tips
You might be a newbie to NaNoWriMo or attempting it for the nth time. Either way, I recommend you to go through the tips given below to win this year’s contest and establish yourself footing in the book writing industry.
1. Make an Announcement to the World
The Internet has become indispensable to our lives, and each of us is obsessed with posting, tweeting, and letting the world know of our daily endeavors without fail.
Likewise, why don’t you let the world know of your NaNoWriMo participation too?
Set goals that are attainable and make it public.
Post your daily word count on the NaNoWriMo blog, but you could do the same on Facebook or put it as a Tweet. I recommend you to have a reliable support system. It could be a friend in real life or a virtual friend too.
Make this friend aware of your real-time goals, discuss the various ways you would achieve these goals, and stay honest while discussing your progress with this person.
Your goal here is to write a 50,000-word novel, equivalent to 1667 words written every day all 30 days of the month.
Commit to this goal and ensure never to deviate from the established word count.
A day missed can add up to twice the number of words required the next day, and if you miss writing for two days in a row, I needn’t tell you about the results as you know what could happen.
2. Missing Out on Writing for a Day Isn’t the End of Your Writing Challenge
The number of words that need to be written each day seems too much initially, but when you sit down to write, and your thought process is active, I guarantee that completing the required word count becomes easier.
Though you have planned to take up the writing challenge and prepared since October, still there might be times when you hit the hard bump. But believe me, this is not the end of the world.
Deviating from your goal plan is disappointing but not miserable enough to deter your goals.
Again, missing on a 1667 word count for a day is manageable. But when this multiplies, and you miss 3-4 days in a row, the numbers are scary indeed!
Try to avoid such glitches and put your best efforts to achieve the word count tally for the day.
The content that you write might not be your best and could be better, but your primary goal must be to fulfill the 1667 word count for the day and then proceed to beautifying your work or correcting grammatical errors.
3. Come up With a Skeleton Outline
Spend time coming up with a gripping plot structure before proceeding to anything else.
The foremost reason why many people quit NaNoWriMo is simply because they cannot proceed forward as they go blank on what happens next.
Be clear on these things: the factor that kicks off your plot, the central character around which your story revolves, the climax, and how to end the book finally.
Have a pretty clear sketch of the most important scenes and conflicts that could come up to charter a roadmap for yourself.
Outlining major scenes gives you a solid plot on which you can develop your story. Else, you would be beating around the bush writing stuff that leads you nowhere.
A clear outline helps you with a sense of direction and brings purpose to the novel, helping you figure out what happens next without getting stuck.
4. Write Your Story in One Sentence Before Starting
Every novel needs a solid storyline, which could be just a single sentence on which the author has developed the plot and built the characters.
Get hold of a premise that’s good enough to be written as a 50,000-word book.
You must be able to figure out the one-sentence story that clearly states your protagonist and his/her goal.
Build your protagonist on a rock-hard foundation as he/she would be traveling with you throughout the novel.
Get hold of their wants, their means to achieve their desires, their friends, and more.
5. Sit to Write and Stop Not Until You Have Reached Your Goal
Once you sit down to write, don’t stop or let anything interrupt you until you are done reaching the day’s goal.
Don’t Tweet to let the world know that you have sat down to write, stop checking emails now and then in the middle of writing, or don’t check your smartphone for any updates frequently.
All these activities significantly deter your thoughts and are like speed breakers to your writing.
I recommend you keep your phone in silent mode, disconnect the television, eat whatever is there, and give your 100% focus on what you do.
Don’t let anything ruin your writing until you have reached the goal. If you find anything to come by your way, get rid of it by hook or crook.
Once you are done, I strongly recommend you to reward yourself.
The reward could be anything such as a phone call to your best friend, a strong cup of coffee, or a walk outside. Rewards motivate us to work harder the next day.
6. Never Reread but Keep Moving Forward
Don’t ever stop to edit once you write the novel.
Allow your ideas and thoughts to flow seamlessly, focusing all your energy primarily on completing the novel first. Use your time to finish up on your daily word count before proceeding to edit your draft.
Revision happens only at the end, and when you disrupt the writing flow, your entire manuscript becomes messed.
I do understand that some famous authors edit as they write, but remember, you are on a mission to complete your story within thirty days.
Remember, you are not writing a novel but writing your first draft.
My humble suggestion would be to keep typing without looking back.
Perfection is never your primary goal here when you are writing 1667 words a day. Still, don’t let go of the quality of your work.
Don’t let the word count make you ditch the process, the disciple, the storyline, characterization, and writing quality.
7. Be Clear on How to Continue Writing the Next Day
You might finish up on your word count for the day, but always remember to be clear on how you would proceed the next day.
You mustn’t be blank when you sit down to write. Don’t expect the scene to unfold before your eyes and hands magically type on the keyboard.
So, I suggest that you always stop when you are clear about what would happen next.
You have the rest of the day to ponder upon this point and come up with numerous ways to make the scene exciting to read.
These days, getting hold of a perfect writing tool is more helpful than you could have imagined.
Gone are the days when you relied on basic tools and failed miserably. Many writers have accomplished the 50,000+ word count feat using popular tools such as LivingWriter, Novlr, Dabble, and Scrivener.
You could set your daily goal count on most of these writing tools and ensure that you achieve the desired target without deviation.
These writing tools are also highly motivating as they constantly remind you how much you are yet to complete the required target for the day.
You could even use Google Calendar to set reminders throughout the day, mark your milestones as you achieve them, and keep yourself well-organized throughout the month to complete the novel.
There are hundreds of tools that help you plan your plotline, create characters, form a neat storyline, generate titles, and even help you with character names.
For instance, we have something called the Character Builder that helps you develop rich and memorable characters that come with their unique personality.
Also, give exciting names to your characters using the Character Name Generator tool that pops up a name along with a detailed personality.
Another great tool is the Mind Meister that helps you list down even the most frivolous idea and establish a genuinely inspiring pattern interconnecting them and developing your plot.
This tool helps you get rid of writer’s block and perfect your mind-map until all your ideas have taken a great shape.
A title is a great attraction for any reader, and I hope that you use an appropriate title generator tool to get hold of a catchy title for your novel.
Please make use of them to stop wasting your time thinking about a title.
What is Camp NaNoWriMo?
We all love camping, isn’t it? Just like how you gang up with friends/family for a camping trip with all the excitement and happiness, the Camp NaNoWriMo event is a blissful experience. You can virtually connect with new friends in another part of the globe and make everlasting relationships.
Camp NaNoWriMo could be called NaNoWriMo’s cousin, as it is also a writing event that happens twice annually—in April and July. If you love to spend some ‘me’ time away from your hectic daily routine, Camp NaNoWriMo is the perfect retreat for inspiring the writer in you.
What is the Difference Between NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo?
Unlike the NaNoWriMo challenge that solely focuses on novel writing, Camp NaNoWriMo gives you the freedom to choose any creative project of your choice. The goal that’s set is entirely upon you and your buddy writers (you can form a group up to 20 others excluding you). It could be stories, poems, first drafts, revisions, scripts, essays, and novels too. You could even have goals such as page counts, hour counts, line counts, and finally, word counts.
NaNoWriMo YWP (NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program)
The name ‘Young Writer’ tells it all. Yes! This is a program for budding young writers as well as the educators whose guidance is their strong anchor for great achievements in life. The flagship NaNoWriMo YWP happens every November, while there are other smaller exciting events conducted at different times of the year.
Students can set their own goals, track daily progress, and feel good about their achievements doing all of this in the comfort of their homes, classrooms, or any place with Internet access.
YWP is the choicest platform for kids to unleash their writing skills, develop creative thinking, and improve their language skills too. Get going with your buddy writers (you can form a group up to 20 others excluding you) and prepare for this November’s challenge with full josh.
NaNoWriMo is fun for many writers who want to prove themselves and create a niche as authors.
However, it is also challenging to present you with multiple hurdles that require patience and perseverance to overcome them and complete the novel-writing challenge.
I would also like to caution you on avoiding contacting agents to publish your novel the very next day. Writing a book depends primarily on rewriting it and never be pushy about getting your novel published.
Spend ample time, look at your write up from a fresh perspective, and make it perfect before going forward.
Once you plan on taking part in the NaNoWriMo challenge, set your eyes on the goal, track your progress, be happy for your accomplishments, and reward yourself for achieving micro-goals.
Self-motivation is the key to perseverance. Never lose hope, don’t be stressed, and push yourself beyond boundaries but stay positive and determined to emerge successfully.