It’s time for the (inter)national writers’ “holiday,” National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)! A cherished pastime by authors, NaNoWriMo is an annual month-long gathering both online and in person where writers pursue winning NaNoWriMo. The goal? Creating a 50,000-word novel by the end of the month.
Most young adult and adult novels are technically longer (the final length often depending on genre, but generally between 65,000 and 100,000 words). But 50,000-words is still an impressive feat—especially for most participants who work full-time, have children, and of course the variety of other daily obligations. NaNoWriMo was created with the goal of circumventing these other time-consuming activities by putting our writing pursuits center stage. Authors can make it a feasible goal: if you devote time to writing 1,667 words a day for all 30 days, you end up with a 50,000-word draft. This is a fantastic jumping-off point for a manuscript that can eventually become a book.
Three Tips for Winning NaNoWriMo
1. #Wordsprints: We’ve sung the praises of wordsprints many times—timed bursts in which you devote all of your attention to writing, checking your current word count once the time is up. NaNoWriMo members sprint together, especially on Twitter using the hashtag. The trick to successfully winning NaNoWriMo is writing as much as you can in the shortest amount of time—you probably don’t want to spend three hours after work every day toiling away at your work-in-progress. Three wordsprints at 30 minutes each should yield around 500 words per sprint (or more), which means you’re spending at most an hour and 45 minutes writing each day.
2. Identify whether you’re a morning or night person and stick to it: By now you likely know whether you’re more productive in the morning or at night, whether that’s based on your personal schedule, natural inclinations or both. If you prefer to address writing first thing in the morning, wake up an hour and a half earlier than usual and attack it right away—there’s a #5amwritersclub hashtag on Instagram you can join in on. If you prefer to work in the evenings, block out a specific time and make sure nothing infringes on it. Brew some coffee or tea, close the door, put your headphones in and write!
3. Incentives and treats are the way NaNoWriMo is beat: Yes, we made a rhyme because it’s that important to remember that you’re doing something strenuous, important and deserving of reward! NaNoWriMo is a lot like working out—sometimes you need an extra little push beyond the relief and pride of completion to keep you motivated. Whether personal incentives are of the food, gift or excursion variety, one of the best ways to actually finish those 50,000 words is by proactively setting up an incentive system ahead of time.
Writers can get set up for participation in NaNoWriMo 2018 here on the website, and fill out all of the necessary info on their current manuscript to get started. We’ll see you there!
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