On Sept 27, 2015, I wrote regarding my introduction to NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month website created by Chris Baty in 1999 and succeeded by Executive Director, Grant Faulkner in 2012. Think you still have a book in you? November is the month to find out. Just 50,000 little words, only 1,667 words per day in 30 days. Think you can do it? How about if you had help, a coach, or several coaches, hints, information, word count, encouragement, and other participants pushing to complete their book in the same month? It’s a band of engagement–join the fun!
National Novel Writing Month is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The experience is free–yes–they’ll accept donations and getting into the spirit of the thing, you can order NaNoWriMo mugs, clothing, books, and posters. And it’s so simple:
- Register and complete your profile.
- Create a title (easy to change later–just name it) and draft a synopsis.
- Select your region to set your “Regional Lounge,” which will appear in the forums.
- Get inspired
- Start writing
- Earn participation and writing badges to mark specific successful milestones.
While you are not to start your novel prior to November 1st (ready, set, GO!), you can get organized, prepped. This is not a contest against others–it’s a personal challenge. The website’s motto is “No Plot? No Problem!” As I noted previously, quality is not the issue; plot is not the issue; characterization is not the issue. The issue here is to get yourself in the uninhibited habit of writing–shoot for the 50k! You will have plenty of time to go back and edit. But this challenge will leave you with the start of your long obsessed novel and leave you with the building blocks upon which to work. This is the first draft, don’t expect perfection.
January and February (forget getting anything done in December) are heavy revision months, and the people at Nano will support you with that effort as well as the initial steps to publication. The Forum is an exhaustive library of tools. Stuck for topical information–check the forum! Here you can find everything from “30 Covers, 30 Days” to prep, research desk, “Writing 101,” and “Character Café.”
Read the rules and regs if you didn’t see the answers to your questions on the FAQ page.
Stuck for genre? Need a description for mainstream fiction? The Genre Lounge will steer you into the proper classification. Is it a genre, or a sub-genre? Narrow it down with the help of the moderators on the forum that have the knowledge and expertise to help with your questions. Better than a classroom, here you may have one-on-one and no one will laugh at your inexperience; all are coming from the same place.
NaNoWriMo has more than 140,000 participants world-wide, and it’s growing in large part because of persons like me–spreading the word through blog posts. This one little exercise started an odyssey that has progressed through the publication of six books and the creation and expansion of social media, expanded my horizons across the pond and opened new doors. It’s an investment in time you won’t regret spending.
If you’ve ever wanted to write that Great American Novel, start planning your immersion in NaNoWriMo beginning November 1st. ©2016 Virginia Williams
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