NaNoWriMo 2011

It’s that time of year again! Tuesday is November first and that marks the start of National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short. For those of you who don’t know what it is, the goal is to try and write 50,000 words in the month of November! Yes, that is a very big number but you’ll be surprised at how fast it goes by. If you write 1,667 a day, then you will hit your goal at the end of the month.

This will be my third year participating and while I did manage to win my first year (you ‘win’ if you hit the 50k and no, your story does not need to be finished to count!), last year I was too distracted and ended up forgetting about it. This year I plan to keep with it and WIN. Unlike my first year, this year I already know what I will be writing and have even started writing out my character bios and other information. Yes, this is allowed to be done before the Nov. 1st date! The only thing that will be considered ‘cheating’ is to start the actually story before that date.

Here are a few things I’ve learned from my first year and some tips from various other places.

1) The 1,667 a day count is just a suggestion for keeping yourself on track. If you can’t write that much then don’t freak out about it. Some days will be slow while others you’ll find you won’t be able to stop writing! You’ll make it up eventually.

*Always try to write something. Even if it’s just a paragraph and nothing more, write it! Keep yourself going and don’t worry if things don’t make sense, that is what editing is for.

*Don’t edit your story during the month of November! Just focus on writing and hitting your daily goals and the end word count. Save all the editing for the end or you will end up losing time and falling behind. You will not be writing perfect your first go through, and you wouldn’t be even with out a time limit.

*Sign up on NaNoWriMo! There is a wealth of information that can be found there. You can submit your writing and it will keep track of your word count for you and let you know if/when you win once you hit the 50k mark. You can also find your region and find people in your area who are also participating. Many groups hold meet ups call write-ins and they can be very helpful in keeping you motivated. You can also post on the forum if you need help with any part of your story, from naming your character to help with the plot! Check it out!

*Don’t forget your basic needs. Many of us end up skipping meals and sleep while writing like crazy to meet that 50k goal. If you skip meals and sleep, then you won’t be able to focus on your writing and that will slow you down or worse, you will run into writers block.

*Breathe! NaNoWriMo is here to help us get our creative juices flowing. Don’t panic if the end of the month is coming and you are no where near your goal of finishing.  If you force yourself to write then you will start to hate it and that is not what is supposed to happen. Just keep writing and focus on your story. The goal is mostly for fun and there is no reason you have to stop writing once the last day passes.

*You don’t have to, but try to plan ahead. Unlike my first year, this year I have started a very basic outline. I have a list of main characters with short bios, as well as a list of some places I want to use in my story. I usually get an idea for something but when I go to write it, the idea has vanished. This time I am writing things down as they come to me so that won’t happen when I go to write it.

*It is okay if things are not in order!  The important thing is to keep writing. If you need to skip around in your story to keep going, then do it! Details can be added later and things can be sorted once the story is finished and you are getting ready for the editing phase.

*Most importantly HAVE FUN! If this starts to feel like work or a chore, then take a step away from your desk, drop what you are doing, and relax. Try to remember why you wanted to participate in NaNoWriMo in the first place. It’s because you like to write, correct? If you are enjoying yourself then you will find you are able to write more then when you feel forced.

On the NaNo website I have found a free online writing site that is already super helpful. It is called Yarny. Since it is online, you can access it anywhere there is an internet connection available. It is also very very basic and easy to use! I’m already loving how you can organize by snippets into people, places, or things. No more going between multiple documents, it’s all right in front of you and able to be seen all at once. It also keeps track of your word count! Check it out if you have been looking for a writing program to use. I did mention that it was free, right?

Well, these are just some things that have come to mind for me and thought I would share them. If there are any other WriMo’s out there I’d love to hear from you!

10 Comments (+add yours?)

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  5. jacquikipfer
    Oct 28, 2011 @ 13:34:37

    Good luck! I’m a NaNoWriMo first timer this year, and am really excited. Scared to death, but excited!


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  7. 3by3 writing method
    Oct 28, 2011 @ 09:16:09

    having a daily dedicated writing location and time, even if its 15 minutes is a real help in these challenges – i could never do a novel in 30 days. I know what it would read like –


    • LuckyXIIICreations
      Oct 28, 2011 @ 09:52:38

      For me, I have to leave writing time at night since I work full time. On the weekends, it depends on how distracted I get. Sometimes I’ll write in the afternoon but other most times I do seem to prefer writing at night. With NaNo, I don’t aim to finish in the thirty days but more like get a start on it. After going through and editing, you may find you take a lot of stuff out so your final word count will be completely different than what you had originally.


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