If you read yesterday's blog you know that November 1 starts NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write every day for one month, allowing you to reach 50,000 words by the end of November and have a (short) novel-length story completed.
Yes, it may seem overwhelming, but it is definitely do-able and fun to try.
If you are planning to try your hand at NaNoWriMo here are some things to consider:
1. Jot down some story notes now:
Because of the time-crunch that is NaNoWriMo, it helps to have some sort of plan of what your story will be about and who the main characters are. You may also want to sketch out a few key scenes or major turning points in the story.
Now, I know that some of you don't like to plot out stories in advance (neither do I), but in this case having even a very, very loose map will help things go smoother. Especially if you only have a short amount of time each day to produce the maximum number of written words.
2. Don't worry about perfection:
NaNoWriMo is not about finishing the perfect or even publishable manuscript. It is about getting words down on paper and creating a rough draft that you can later revise and rewrite. More importantly, I think, it's also about accomplishing something many people only dream about.
3. You are not alone:
One benefit of NaNoWriMo is that you are not alone in this. Thousands of would-be writers, and quite a number of already-published authors, use this month to kick their work into high gear. Why not benefit from the vast number of supportive emails, blogs, workshops and more that exist for NaNoWriMo participants?
4. Public spaces will be open for "write-ins"
Coffee shops, libraries and other gathering spaces have gotten used to the fact that during November, writers will stop in and bury themselves in their work. Some have special hours where you can join fellow writers and just write the hours away.
The official NaNoWriMo website offers tips and inspiration to keep you going throughout the month. My own advice, don't think. Don't analyze what you are writing or what direction the story is going. Just go with the flow and the let the words unfold. NaNoWriMo is about stream of consciousness writing not award-winning, bestselling prose.
Personally I think the real benefit of NaNoWriMo doesn't rest in the idea that you will finish a book in a month, but rather that you will join a collective of writers all of whom are making their creative endeavor a key priority in their lives.