Many writers are beginning to scramble to get ready for what is known as NaNoWriMo, or rather “National Novel Writing Month”. All over the world, writers join together to hit their writing goals and complete a novel within one month. NaNoWriMo has been a wonderful tool for many authors. It helps us get our words down and creates a huge sense of community.
As you continue reading, I will include 5 of my tips as we head into National Novel Writing Month. Of course, these tips might not work for every writer, but they might work for you! For the sake of shortness, we’ll be shortening to NaNoWriMo to NaNo!
1. It’s Okay To Suck
Wait, what? Yes, it’s totally fine for your writing to suck during NaNo. Don’t expect your novel to be absolutely perfect. Actually, writing it in under a month should make it far from it. What you need to focus on is getting the words on the page. This should be a rough draft of what you want, not a final manuscript.
One of the top tips I got when I won my first NaNo was to not edit. For someone like me, who always wants things to be perfect, not editing as I write can be incredibly difficult. If you’re a perfectionist like me and try to edit your novel while writing it during NaNo, you are more than likely not going to complete your word goal during the month.
2. Prepare Your Novel
You should have a general idea of what you want to write as you head into NaNo. Even if it’s a one sentence summary of the general plot, that’s okay. The more you know you’re writing, the easier it will be. Don’t be afraid to make plots and summaries of chapters or descriptions of your characters.
Try to decide whether you would like to be a pantser or plotter before NaNo starts. A plotter is someone who plots their entire novel or parts of their novel before they write it. A pantser is someone who writes without plotting their novel. It’s okay to outline your book chapter by chapter, and it’s also okay to only have an idea of your setting or protagonist. Just make sure you are prepared to write how you enjoy writing.
3. Set Time Aside
During NaNo, it will be a good idea to set a specific time aside each day to focus on your writing. Add a few minutes daily to your schedule to write. Do nothing else during this time. Turn off your notifications on your phone and computer (some people suggest even disconnecting from the internet). During this time, you will only be writing. Allow yourself to fall deep into the motions of getting your words onto a page.
By setting a time aside to write, you’re also practicing scheduling and organization. See, NaNo has more perks than just writing!
4. Just Keep Writing
During NaNo you might find yourself in holes you don’t know how to get out of. We all face these boring moments in our writing when we want to get to an intense scene instead of writing filler. It’s okay to jump around your novel, as long as you keep writing. Every moment counts when you are trying to finish a novel in one month.
Sometimes, I’ll find myself writing the ending scene before I start. Other times I’ll write the scenes that excite me. The important thing is to continue writing, even if it’s not in order!
5. Have Fun!
My final word of advice during NaNo is to remember to have fun. Don’t stress yourself during this time. While it’s great for learning how to meet a writing deadline (or deadlines in general), don’t let yourself be consumed by needing to hit it. NaNo is a great time to learn more about yourself as a writer and how you enjoy writing. Spend NaNo reflecting on why you write.