It’s November — do you know what that means? National Novel Writing Month!
You can do it how everyone else does it, or you can do your own thing.
I’m cheating just a little bit. (Shhh, don’t tell anyone!) A lot of people start brand new novels on November 1st, but I was already 35,000 words into Promising Power, the last in the Protectors series. So, I’m using Nanowrimo — the camaraderie, the momentum, the word sprints, the forums — to write 50,000 words in Promising Power. Then I will be about 2/3 of the way done with this novel — it’s a big one!
Some people have different goals: less words, more words, a certain number of short stories, editing hours. Some even have goals unrelated to writing: 30 covers in 30 days, comics, and other art projects.
What I love about Nanowrimo is the goal-setting and the fact that you know hundreds — no, thousands! — of other people are doing the same thing, shooting for the same goal, and having the same struggles. I logged into the website the other day and was amazed to find I’ve been a member of Nanowrimo for 9 years! I’ve skipped a few years here and there, of course, but since 2004, every November has been about stretching myself, getting to that unreachable goal, and working hard.
Whatever you’re doing this month, hopefully this post can help you out. I’m posting resources, links, and tips for Nano-ers, for those writers who are pushing themselves just a little bit extra this month. Whatever you’re deciding to do, you CAN do it!
Inspiration: plots, characters, scenes
Need a plot? Three days in an no idea what to do?
A word sprint is simple. You have a certain amount of time — 5 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or more — and you write. Don’t stop, don’t think about it, just see how many words you can get. It’s fun when you can do it with other people, or you can compete against yourself.
Here are some twitter accounts that do Word Sprints:
@FriNightWrites (for the introverted, word sprints every Friday night! Follow the #writeclub hashtag on Fridays to join the fun)
Online Word Processors
yarny.me : set a goal, make it public, and let people watch you write! They even have a Nanowrimo edition!
Novel Writing Software
yWriter5: I haven’t tried this, but I have heard a lot about it!
I cannot recommend Scrivener enough! It’s an awesome tool for novel writing — lets you divide your scenes and chapters up, gives you space for notes, outlining. You can give yourself an ultimate goal and a daily goal, like so:
If you’re a little short on cash, check out Jer’s Novel Writer, which is a lot like Scrivener, but missing some of the fancy features. You can always buy a key to support his awesome coding.
Now, do not underestimate the power of the Nanowrimo forums. There are genre forums, forums for various age groups, forums for regions across the world, as well as more general forums like “Plot Doctoring” and “Character Cafe.” You could get lost there, though, so remember your word count!
Well, my friends, I hope that points you in the right direction this November. Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it! You are awesome and though you may feel like your work is nothing, it is something. You created it! You’re actually creating something out of nothing. How cool is that?!