How to Conquer NaNoWriMo
November is fast approaching and all over the world people are gearing up to tackle their new project during NaNoWriMo, and I am too! Not sure what NaNoWriMo is? Want to know what my plans are? Read on for more information!
A brief history of NaNoWriMo:
The project was started in 1999 by freelance writer Chris Baty. It moved to November and had an official website in 2000. Attendance was small, initially, but gradually it spread across the world through the media, mostly bloggers and local US news outlets. It became a non-profit organisation in 2006 and members can give a donation if they choose, while they are writing their manuscripts during November. Chris Baty has moved away from the running of the organisation to focus on his writing career. The website was overhauled and placed in the care of a guided team of individuals that strive to make each NaNoWriMo better than the last.
The goal of NaNoWriMo is to have a completed draft of 50 000 words or more completed (and verified) by midnight on November 30. Novels can be of any genre or theme. You are allowed to plan and take notes but all submitted material must be written during November. No earlier writing can go into the body of the novel and on cannot start early and finish on November 30. You are a winner if you reach 50 000 words. You receive a printable certificate and other goodies to inspire you to finish. From November 25, you can submit your novel to be verified by software for your final word count.
What are the benefits of NaNoWriMo?
When you sign-up to join NaNo, you create a profile and have the option of being assigned to a cabin. A cabin allows you to work alongside those who are writing in the same genre, have the same word count goal or you can ask to be randomly assigned a cabin. Working in a cabin allows you to interact with other writers, share your progress and overcome challenges like writer’s block or the feeling of demotivation. Another benefit is time-pressure. You know what you have set as your goal and the clock winds down, so to speak, towards the completion of that goal. Throughout the month, the team behind NaNoWriMo send out advice, tips and continuously push people towards the completion of their goals across social media platforms.
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What are the cons of NaNoWriMo?
NaNo takes a degree of self-discipline to complete the novel/draft in 30 days. It is not for the faint-hearted and it introduces writers to the loneliness that often goes along with professional writing. For most people it makes sense but they cannot grasp the joy writers get from sitting for hours pounding out the lives of (imaginary) characters on a laptop. For many writers, there is also a feeling of accomplishment when they write the words – ‘the end’. For many writers, writing occurs in the early hours of the day as well as the late evening. Good writing cannot be done in the middle of the family barbeque or at the dinner table. I’m sure you understand why!
A summary of the benefits and cons
- Interaction with others (real world or online)
- Time pressure to actually finish
- A sense of accomplishment when you finish
- Improves your self-discipline
- Makes you focus on your writing as a priority as well as making those around you take it seriously too.
- Takes a degree of self-discipline
- Can be lonesome (while you actually write).
Ready to Crush NaNo this time?
I have a workbook coming out in January 2019 that WILL help you beat NaNoWriMo and get your first draft done.