I’ve seen this acronym all over the place lately. It sounds like a daemon H.P. Lovecraft forgot to make. Then I read a very helpful post by mylifewithbooksblog and all became clear. Here’s a nice summation courtesy of this fine blogger:
“If you didn’t know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, and takes place in November every year. Basically, it motivates writers to write a full book (more like first draft honestly) of 50k words in 30 days.”
Sounds a bit arduous. The first thing I thought was: Will I still have working wrists at the end of it?
The trick, I understand, is to focus more on the daily target: 2,000 words a day. Do that each day of the month and you’ll piss all over that 50k target. You can actually get away with doing about 1,667 words per day and still hit 50k words. Yes, the procrastinator in me worked it out.
Of course there’s going to be days when you can’t get going, when life gets in the way, when technology conspires against you, and that 2,000 word target will feel like taking the One Ring to Mordor. To be honest, I have too many days like this, and I think I need something like NaNoWriMo to shake my funk. The first draft of my novel is nearly done, and I think 50k words should see me to the end.
So I decided to sign up, and here’s my first impressions.
The format appears to be something of a supportive competition. You enter your novel in the contest and then pit your progress against everyone else. The first to 50k words wins.
The sign up is pretty straight forward. You have to write a synopsis and include an excerpt from your manuscript. I found myself hesitating at this point. I’ve shared my ideas with friends I trust, but exposing them to hundreds of thousands of fellow writers seemed a little risky. But hey, I’m a trusting guy, and all of the writers I’ve met to date have been genuinely brilliant people.
There’s plenty on the website to help motivate you, from self-awarded badges for personal achievements (using the honour system), to linking up with writer buddies and setting yourself goals. There’s a fantastic statistics page too which tracks your progress and calculates when you’re likely to hit your target.
And then you have a whole section called ‘Inspiration’, which is filled with all sorts to get you prepared for the long month ahead. There’s tonnes of ‘prep events’ you can partake in, download a range of ‘participant’ images to put on your social media pages and websites (like the one below), a great way to show solidarity with your NaNoWriMo comrades!
There’s a whole section filled with pep talks from a host of bestselling authors too. And last but not least there’s a forum with thousands of posts on literally every aspect of writing.
One feature I quite like is choosing which region you’re in. You can receive email updates from people in your region throughout the month. What an excellent way to connect and meet fellow writers!
That’s pretty much NaNoWriMo in a nutshell. It’s not some Cthulhu-like beast. My biggest problem is procrastinating. To tackle this my next post will be about defeating the devil that is procrastination.
So what about you? Are you thinking of taking part? Have you already signed up? If so, please share the link to your novel, website, blog, or social media page so I can keep up to date with your progress! And if you’ve done this before, do you have any tips on getting to that glorious 50k target?
Good luck everyone!
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