Gad-zooks! We are about five months away from the next coffee-fueled, donuts-for-dinner literary slog known as Nanowrimo!
For those wondering, this is the annual “contest” where you pledge to scribe a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. This breaks down to writing 1,666.66 words per day, every day. Easy for some; seemingly impossible for others.
And for those who make it all the way? They are “winners” and get a cool icon for their website, discounts on tools and services for writers, and most importantly, they get bragging rights. I mean, really, how many people have you met that can say they have written a novel in one month? Not many, I am guessing.
Those who finish also gain invaluable perspective. They now understand what it means to write on a deadline. They know the sacrifices professional writers make on a daily basis. Those who finish also learn about their own writing skill, or lack thereof. I have participated in quite a few Nanowrimo events and have learned I can write thrillers with both military and paranormal themes, as well as mysteries. But after three or four Nano’s, I find mysteries written in first person to be the most natural voice for me.
In one sentence: You learn more about yourself as a writer. And that is probably the best takeaway from Nanowrimo. And it’s free.
So, to help those of you who either struggled to make the 50,000 word goal, didn’t make the goal, or decided you could never do it and thusly did not enter, I will use the month of June to share my own system of preparation for Nanowrimo. Just think, after this series ends, you still have four months to do the legwork before you have to type “It was a dark and stormy night…”
My Goal: Help you, the Nanowrimo warrior, finish with a coherent and complete first draft of your next best-selling novel.
How? I’ll post ten, count ‘em, ten easy-to-read steps that might just prepare you to take up the Nano challenge.
Why now? Nanowrimo takes the entire month of November. And trust me, it takes the entire month for most of us. That leaves eleven months with nothing to do, right?
I started my novel, The Apple Pie Alibi, during Nanowrimo 2013 and here it is, six months later and I have just revised it well enough to send it to a publisher for consideration. You think writing your novel in one month is hard? Think of the poor publishers and agents who receive thousands (literally) of unpolished first drafts during the month of December.
The more work you do now, the better the first draft will be on November 30th. And consequently, the less work you will need to do in December forward. Publishers and agents everywhere will thank you.
Next up: Finding time for your writing. It can be done!