Writing a novel is like running a marathon. You have a HUGE goal and you prepare and persevere in order to complete the race. NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, is a “website, a community, a wildly ambitious writing event — and so much more!” And it happens in November. So, if you’ve been playing around with an idea for a book, there is no better time to start than NOW!
The goal is to write 50,000 words starting November 1. It doesn’t matter how incomplete your plot, characterization, dialogue, setting, conflicts are. It doesn’t matter if you use lovely language and deep POV. All that matters is getting your words on the page.
The last time I did NaNoWriMo was in 2008, when my friend,Joyce Hostetter encouraged me to try it with her. I didn’t think I was ready (I wasn’t) but something happened. I wrote a first draft of HALF-TRUTHS! It was raw and not close to what I ended up submitting a month ago, but it was a first stab at writing the story that had been brewing in my mind for months. I had something to work with–a tangible result of writing as much as I could for one month. (And yes, I took off for Thanksgiving and didn’t write on Sundays.)
Fast forward eleven years and I’m now working on my second novel. I realized I could take the month of October and actually prepare for NaNoWriMo so that I’m not starting out cold. I’m busy populating a new workspace in OneStopforWriters by character building and developing a plot timeline. When November 1 rolls around, I’ll be prepared!
Here are some blogs and websites that will help you get started:
- NaNoWriMo offers a number of helps on the site. Create an account for free, then check out the writer resources and pep talks. You can find buddies to help keep you accountable and encourage you on your marathon.
- OneStopForWriters is a resource that I’ve mentioned on the W2I Facebook page. You wouldn’t believe the depth of resources that are available to you as a writer on this one site. Every thesaurus that the authors have written, plus brainstorming worksheets that are all linked together. Try it for 2 weeks for free, or use it just for the month of November for only $9.00. You’ll be hooked. As I am brainstorming my characters, I’m creating the plot for my book. It’s exciting, stimulating, and helpful!
- Helena George has posted an excellent blog about ways to approach NaNoWriMo. Look at her next few blogs for other ways to prepare.
- Fiction University has a post on beginnings, one on middles, one on getting ready, and one on fast drafting.
- Author Accelerator offers courses to help writers. Sign up for their email notifications and you’ll get lots of information.
Whether you prepare or you don’t, this is a great way to set a goal for yourself and get writing! Let me know in the comments if you plan to take the challenge. You and I will become NaNoWriMo buddies, and we can write about our achievements in a December blog!
Remember, you don’t have to reach the 50K mark to be a winner. You are creating the clay that you will then spend months (or like me, years) to mold and shape into a novel.
What are you waiting for?
Carol Baldwin is the Write2Ignite blogmeister. She co-publishes TALKING STORY, a free newsletter, with Joyce Hostetter, and her first novel, HALF-TRUTHS, is on submission. When she’s not writing, blogging, or giving away books, she’s probably reading, sewing with one of her grandchildren, or trying to tame her unruly hair.
And if she is a little MIA in the month of November…you’ll know why.