Beginning at the stroke of twelve on November 1, NaNoWriMo returns for another period of unrestrained creativity and word generation. No, this is not some new strain of post-1984 Doublethink, but rather shorthand for National Novel Writing Month (which is no longer National but has grown to a global phenomenon), whose stated mission is to push authors towards writing and completing a novel in a month.
Tips for NaNoWriMo
If you are interested in taking part in the National Novel Writing Month activities, the first thing you should do is go to the NaNoWriMo website and register. Here you will be able to access a variety of resources to help you towards completion. The site also has a word count program and provides official verification of your efforts so you can receive the recognition you deserve once you have completed your tome.
Besides what you may find on the site, here are some basic suggestions to help you through the process, listed in no particular order other than they are what came to mind first.
1. Set daily or weekly goals – The target is 50,000 words by the end of the month, which can be overwhelming, so establish smaller milestones along the way to break it up. However, instead of an easily achievable number, set an amount that pushes you a little.
2. Keep a diary or notebook with you whenever you are away from your writing area – sooner or later you are going to have to eat, take care of personal business, and so on. Keeping handy some way to record ideas prevents losing forever that brief flash of intuition when you are able to see into the nature of things.
3. Join one of the writing communities – The NaNoWriMo website will help you find a community of peers for sharing ideas, critiquing work, and garnering suggestions to keep you going during the course of the project.
4. Share ideas – Writing is a creative process, and sharing ideas or concepts with others can spark the creative urge in you. You do not have to reveal your deepest and darkest – just a few “what would happen if’s.”
5. Read other people’s work – Good writers read, so take some time, and dip into the words of others. Also, when was the last time you read the dictionary or a thesaurus? They have lots of great words in them just waiting to be put to use, and you can take as many as you like, no questions asked.
6. Eat properly – Believe it or don’t, watching your diet is important – some foods will dull your senses.
7. Get a proper amount of sleep – I mean, without sleep you cannot dream, and your writing life is such stuff as dream are made on and rounded with a sleep.
8. If you control your schedule, write at those times you believe you are most productive – Some folks write better in the wee small hours of the morning; others listen to the light-wingèd Dryads of the trees that haunt the evening. When do you do your best work?
9. Worry about revisions on December 1 – The goal is to crank out 50,000 words by the end of November.
10. Let your creativity run wild, especially in the early stages – Don’t hold back. Be a channel for the singing Muse and lend form to whatever words springs forth.
These are just a few tips or ideas – some may work for you, or they may not. In any case, why wait for another year to come and go, come and go; for others let the Whittier sad refrain “it might have been” be the saddest words nudged from their tongues or pens. Jump in and join the fun and reap the benefit of your words’ worth.