Ah, November! There’s a wintry chill in the air and it’s the perfect time to curl up with a good book. Or, if you’re feeling inspired, November is a wonderful time to start writing a book of your own.
November is National Novel Writing Month (affectionately known as NaNoWriMo), and thousands of writers will be challenging themselves to create a 50,000 word manuscript in just 30 days. Think that sounds like a big challenge? You’re absolutely right, but it can be done! Here are our tips to survive the madness and come out of NaNoWriMo with a new manuscript and your sanity intact.
Take Baby Steps
Have you ever heard the saying that a journey of one thousand miles begins with a small step? Apply that idea toward your novel and make sure you take steps toward your writing goal every day. If you can write about 1,500 to 2,000 words per day, the equivalent of 3 or 4 double-spaced typed pages, then you can write a novel in a month!
Establish a Routine
Do you feel creative in the morning or are you more of a night owl? Set aside a time and place to write every day and put it on your calendar. Make sure that you have a place to write without distractions and interruptions, and don’t procrastinate! When you commit your time, you’ll find it’s easier to get work done than if you try to scribble out a novel between (or during) other activities. For increased productivity, turn your cellphone off during your write time!
Let Go of Perfectionism
If you spend hours staring at a blank screen waiting for the perfect word to come to you from the ether, it will be very hard to meet your daily writing goals. Let go of perfectionism and just write the essentials that your story needs. You can and should revise your novel later, but National Novel Writing Month is all about getting your raw ideas out. When you let go of control and perfectionism, your own creativity might surprise you.
Use the Community
One of the greatest things about National Novel Writing Month is that you are not in it alone! Register online as a writer and you can connect with other writers taking the challenge on the NaNoWriMo forums. You can also follow NaNoWriMo on Twitter and Facebook to insert a little extra inspiration and motivation into your days. Other writers are facing the same challenges you are, and you can gain a lot of insight from sharing your experiences.
Stay focused on your goals and stick to it! At the end of the month, you’ll have accomplished something you can truly be proud of. With some editing and polishing, you might even have a bestseller on your hands. Have you heard of the book Water for Elephants? The first draft was written during NaNoWriMo. Why wait? Start writing now!
Are you writing a novel this month? Let us know in the comments!
-Megan L. TakeLessons Staff Member and Blogger
Photo by kruemi