What You Need to Know About NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo is almost upon us. It is a special event taking place in November each year since 1999. The challenge is to write 50,000 words in one month, whatever the participants are writing. It can be an essay, a collection of short stories, a novel, a screenplay, whatever you want really.

I discovered NaNoWriMo in 2012 when I just got back into writing after years spent at university. I was taking a very smooth start, writing micro-fiction (around 300 characters for one mini story). Writing a whole story of 50,000 words in just one month? Sounded almost impossible, but I did it.

NaNoWriMo Logo

NaNoWriMo: Getting Started

When I first participated in NaNoWriMo, the amount of words was impressive. Nobody I knew was doing it, but my boyfriend (now fiancé) encouraged me throughout the event. “You can do it,” he kept telling me. So can you.

Here are some tips I would have loved to know before starting my first NaNoWriMo:

1/ Set up a routine

Inspiration can come whatever the time during the day, but it can also be domesticated. Try writing at the same time, at a special place. After a few days, you’ll see that when you come sit at that same table every day, your inspiration will come back faster.

2/ Writers write, no matter how much and how long

NaNoWriMo is a tough challenge. Writing 50,000 words in one month represents 1,667 words per day. It seems like a lot, especially for someone who’s doing it for the first time and doesn’t already have a routine. My advice here: don’t beat yourself up. At the end of the day, the words add up. Maybe you won’t win, but does it really matter? Why not continuing your project after the event? You don’t necessarily need to write your novel in one month, you can do it in three.

3/ Keep a notebook at all time

Like I said above, inspiration can come whatever the time. By keeping a notebook with you, you can write down your fantastic ideas. And when you find it hard to continue your story, you can flip through your notebook in search for a great plot twist.

4/ Enjoy the creative emulation

NaNoWriMo, it’s more than 400,000 writers of all countries each year. They communicate via the official forums, they meet in person, they organise writing events, and you can become great friends.

Writing in groups has its advantages: you’ll find yourself writing more than you usually do. You’ll even get new ideas and new ways of writing that particular hard scene you were working on for days.

Writing can be a lonely life; but during one month, you know you’re not alone.

5/ Don’t expect a perfect draft

After my first NaNoWriMo, I learned a big thing: rushing my writing is not good. My draft was awful: there were plot holes and, as I couldn’t reach 50,000 words with that particular story, extra scenes without any interest.

Except if you’ve been planning your story ahead of the event and you have already a writing mindset, you can’t have a perfect draft. NaNoWriMo is a great even for quantity, not always for quality.

However, some authors have published their NaNoWriMo novels throughout the years. But don’t forget that publishing a story also means lots and lots of editing and rewriting.

Happy NaNoWriMo! 😉

Are you participating this year?

Tell me in the commentary section below.

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