NaNoWriMo, or Nation Novel Writing Month, begins on November 1 and ends on November 30. (See the website here. http://www.nanowrimo.org/) The goal is to write 50,000 words in one month, which may seem like a lot – and it is – but it is completely achievable. Even late starters manage to accomplish this goal.
Having personally experienced NaNoWriMo myself last year, I can speak from my own NaNoWriMo. Yes, I failed, though I did write 25,000 words in one month and I started almost a week late. And even though I failed, I still wrote more than I had ever written in that span of time. I am still working on that story; it isn’t finished, but without NaNoWriMo I would never have even started it.
So, this is my encouragement to all aspiring writers to give NaNoWriMo a try this year. Go to their site, and sign up. They give you a handy little profile for displaying yourself and your novel as well as word count. They also keep tallies of which countries are leading and other fun statistics.
Tools to Help You on Your NaNoWriMo Adventure
NaNoWriMo Tool 1 – Write or Die: Dr. Wicked’s Writing Lab
What is it: this is a program designed to get you writing – and keep you writing. And it works. I use it frequently and can write 500 words in ten minutes. There are two versions: the free internet version and the downloadable desktop version, which costs $10.00.
How it works: You set a word goal, a time limit, and pick a setting. Depending on the settings, the screen will turn colors, slowly going to red; make loud, grating noises; and even start to erase your words one by one, which really encourages you to write if you aren’t! It does allow you to pause once, but the goal is to keep writing straight through without any distractions.
NaNoWriMo Tool 2 – Google Scribe
What is it: It is a program designed by Google that predicts the next word as you type. While this might not be useful every time (sort of like a phone’s prediction, it sometimes comes up with garbage), it might help you write faster or help you find a word.
How it works: It’s pretty simple. You type a word, it offers a prediction. You can set it to auto, which means it will constantly predict, or On Demand, which means that it waits for you to press tab before offering a suggestion.
NaNoWriMo Tool 3 – The NaNoWriMo Website
What is it:It’s their website! And it’s full of everything helpful. They have been doing this novel writing thing for years now, and they make sure to help you in every way possible. I suggest utilizing it to its fullest.
How it works: Like any other website is how it works. If you plan on being a part of NaNoWriMo, spend some time familiarizing yourself with the website.
And, of course, don’t forget to use spellchecker and your word count tools inside whichever program you are using to write your novel for NaNoWriMo.
Tips and Tricks for NaNoWriMo
Tip Number 1 for NaNoWriMo
Do NOT go back and edit under any circumstances. This will ruin your goal and stop you from writing, which is not the objective of NaNo WriMo. The objective is to write and keep writing. In fact, December is designated as the month for editing, so hold off on editing and wait until December.
Tip Number 2 for NaNoWriMo
Tell other people you are writing for NaNoWriMo. One, there is now more pressure on you to come through, which means you will work harder to not fail, and two, you now have a support group.
Tip Number 3 for NaNoWriMo
You are NOT going to be able to write 50,000 words in one day, so don’t even try it. You need some distractions. Don’t just sit at the computer constantly. Some authors like to keep track of how many cups of coffee or energy drinks or sodas they drink, how many sleepless nights, etc., as a joke amongst authors.
Tip Number 4 for NaNoWriMo
Carry around a little notepad and a pen or pencil to jot down any ideas for your novel you might have while not writing. This is extremely beneficial for any writer.
Tip Number 5 for NaNoWriMo
Use whatever program you are most comfortable using to type your story. I personally use OpenOffice, a free program that is much like Microsoft Word but simpler and just nicer to work with in my opinion.
And finally, good luck to all who participate!
National Novel Writing Month