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November is still a good 8 weeks away, but why not start early? Here is some advice to start planning for NaNoWriMo from Eve Pearce. Eve is a professional writer and freelance researcher who works primarily in the fields of travel and finance, although she relishes letting her creative side out every time NaNoWriMo swings around. She also frequently writes on the business of content creation, both in terms of best practice and how to get the best income protection insurance while freelancing.
Get Planning Now for a NaNoWriMo November
It’s hard to think about the onset of autumn, which is just around the
corner. But you can take advantage of the darker evenings to come by
planning for National Novel Writing Month, which is in November. If you’ve never heard of it then it’s about time you joined in. Thousands of writers around the globe join in with this endeavor, and you may be surprised by how useful you’ll find it to your writing.
NaNoWriMo – What is it?
The idea is very simple. It was the brainchild of founder Chris Baty who
issued the first challenge to his friends back in 1999. Twenty-one of them
signed up, and of those six completed the challenge. Today, the event
starts every November 1st, and runs until midnight on the last day of that
month. Your novel should not aim to be War and Peace length – 50,000 words
is enough to cross the finishing line, although you can, of course, exceed
that word count. At 11:59:59 on November 30th the clock stops. Your novel
can the be uploaded and will appear as an online book, with electronic
pages to turn. If you have completed the challenge you will enter the
NaNoWriMo annals and will get a badge of achievement to show on your site.
You can be genuinely proud of your achievement. It’s not easy; it’s not
meant to be. But it is great fun.
On Your Marks…
The competition is ideal if you’re the kind of writer that needs motivation
to get that novel started. Maybe you’re on your ‘difficult second novel’
and need to take the plunge and get the ball rolling. As writers, we know
how easy it is to procrastinate and over-work ideas we are mulling over in
our heads. At some point you need to start. And starting is quite a
commitment. NaNoWriMo helps writers to shed their inhibitions about
committing to begin their novel.
Fear of Failure
For some, never trying means you never have to experience failure and
rejection. The beauty of this challenge is that it is purely a personal
one. You can choose to let others read your work, or keep it private. You
can show whomever you wish. If you don’t finish the challenge nothing
changes. In fact, if you don’t finish you won’t have ‘failed’ so much as
got a large swathe of your novel down, and be off to a flying start.
Inhibitions about beginning to write are often internal, with many writers
suffering from a ruthlessly self-critical streak. The anonymity of this
exercise is part of its power. It’s all between you and your computer.
No-one else need ever see it.
The forums of the NaNoWriMo site are a great place to meet other writers
and throw ideas around. Brainstorming a plot twist, or just encouragement
to keep going are invaluable. There are now meetups where you can connect
with writers too. Having other writers around you, virtually, is a great
confidence boost, and you can share the ups and downs – if you’re not
writing that is. Committing to the challenge means that you will spend a
very large part of November at your desk, typing. Each writer has their own
approach, with some up with the lark before work, and others working deep
into the night. Whenever you log in there will be someone else there, who
could be on the other side of the world. It’s a community feel, and one you
can enter into or just carry on working in a solitary way. You’re totally
in control of how you participate.
How Can It Help My Writing?
Other than getting them started, many writers who have joined in with the
challenge have reported how useful a writing exercise it was. The word
count widget shows you your progress and because you are driven by a word
count the focus changes. Writers have reported feeling much freer in their
mode of expression because they need to complete a certain number of words.
For example, they may allow their characters to digress from the present
day action, and wander off in their minds back to childhood. It’s a useful
way of upping the word count for the day, but more crucially it enhances
the character portrait. This freedom to be expansive, to take risks and
experiment is the most commonly cited advantage of the experience. Through
experimentation writers seem to learn far more about their characters and
their internal world. They can see how this mode of writing could well be
employed outside the confines of the challenge. Writers seem to learn to
trust themselves and their imaginations to run free. This feeling of
freedom is frequently mentioned by those participating.
Let Your Imagination Go
The increasing popularity of the event is testament to how useful people
find it. Some people enter every year. Others once and once only. But there
is no more exciting way of spending November. You can sit in and look at
travel brochures, dreaming of a cruise on the Independence of the
Seas, or the beaches of the Greek Islands. Or you can sit in and dream about your novel being published. Perhaps you could set it on a cruise liner. Or even
on a Greek island, like John Fowles. Get your ideas whirring, and challenge
yourself this November.
Don’t Forget… You Can Publish
And lastly, once you’ve finished the challenge, and you have a completed work, although you don’t have to share it with anyone, we’d love if you came back to Kbuuk to publish and distribute your fine work of literature.