Well, we’ve made it. It is the first day of National Novel Writing Month, affectionately known as NaNoWriMo. This is the month where writers all across the globe roll up their sleeves and attempt to write a novel in a month. The goal for everyone is to write a minimum of 50,000 words which is considered a small novel.
For me, this would be my second year participating. Last year, I participated and finished Blackson’s Revenge. Since Blackson’s Repentance is already set to be released next week, the next book for me is the last book in the trilogy which is Blackson’s Redemption.
I’ve been plugging away hard to try to write the outline to the novel and I’ve determined that I’m just a stickler when it comes to things connecting within my books. I’m almost at the end of my outlined and I have always known what the end of this series was going to be. I actually had two endings and decided to go with one as the outline developed. I’m on chapter 21 of the outline but you can best believe I will be starting the manuscript today.
The reason I’m writing about this is I want to encourage those of you who have never attempted to write a novel but have thought about it over the years to participate in NaNoWriMo. I also wanted to give you some tips on how to best prepare yourself to do this.
The first thing that you need to do is go to the NaNoWriMo website and make yourself an account. They’ve updated the look and feel of the website so it should be relatively easy to go ahead and set up your project. You’ll be able to do things like upload a profile picture, and give the details of where you are with your particular project.
It’s also a good place to connect with other writers who are doing the same thing so you can get the encouragement that you need to press on and to finish your novel. They even have a place where you can hook up with writers in your area that are doing the same thing as well. So people who are nearby my city I can hook up with them and encourage them or get encouragement from them either online or if I feel so inclined, in person. So it’s also a great way to network with other writers.
Monitor your progress. This is where the site shines. It keeps track of your project stats like how many words you’re doing per day and how many you need to reach your goal. This is crucial if you’re going to be successful in pounding out the words.
When people see authors going for that 50,000-word goal, the first thing is that they feel intimidated. 50,000 words appear to be a big number. When I first saw it, I didn’t really think anything but the four zeros behind that five did look like it may be challenging. Then I ran the numbers.
November has 30 days. If you would write every single day in the month of November, to reach that goal you need to write 1666 words per day. It’s not that much folks. That is entirely doable.
The question is whether you’re going to talk about writing a novel or whether you will write a novel. That means planning your month to do whatever you need to do to finish that novel. It may mean sacrificing some things like Netflix, YouTube, video games, and all those things that seem to be a time sink in our lives.
Let me make a distinction here before I continue. I don’t mean this as discouragement or to cast aspersions on people. Think of it as a suggestion on how to view yourself in this.
There is a difference between those who are novelists and those who write a book.
Those who are novelists do it constantly. The ideas never stop coming. Their mind is always racing with a story they are writing and rewriting in their heads. I have often said that I write because if I don’t, I’ll go insane with all the stories in my head. I’m serious. They need to get out.
Novelists/writers are hardwired to write words and craft them so they communicate the story in the best way possible. They have been doing this all of their lives even if it’s been behind the scenes. Stories are an extension of themselves not because it’s something that they want to try but it is who they are. I fall into that category. I don’t write just because I desire, though that is there. I write because I have to write.
Then there are those who have an idea and want to try their hand at writing. They are curious as to what it takes to finish a book and may have many ideas for one. They would like to write a novel and may eventually finish that novel but they are not in it for the long haul. Neither do they look at it is something that is a part of their DNA. These people fall into the category of those who have always desired to write a novel but put it off for years, and years, and years, and years. These are not writers or novelists. They are people who write. Many times, they are just dreamers.
I make this distinction because it’s important to identify which of those you are before you start something like NaNoWriMo. The reason is that your approach will be totally different. Your mindset will be different. Though the disciplinary process will be similar no matter what which camp you fall into (butt in chair, fingers tapping on the keyboard), the goal will be different. If you fall into the latter category, it’s time to stop dreaming and start building the dream into something that lives.
At the end of the day, it’s about one thing. Writing. Because writers write.
That is all. It’s time for me to do what I just said.
So until next time, I’ll see you in the Tapestry!