November is National Novel Writing Month, fondly known as NaNoWriMo in the writing community. It’s a chance for authors to spend dedicated time writing, focus on a novel (whether one already in progress or one you’ve always wanted to start), and produce a manuscript.
One of the hardest parts of writing for me (especially writing a novel) is the ambiguity of a deadline. A novel needs to be finished … sometime. I’ve always worked well with a deadline in place, whether set by someone else or self-imposed, helping me know what timeline and pace I should have. NaNoWriMo is a chance to set a deadline for yourself and work towards it.
With this in mind, I am launching back into the writing world myself and hoping to have you join me in a new writing challenge this month! While most NaNoWriMo challenges involve writing a complete novel during the month, my goal (as the goal of The Wordsmith site is) is to help you reach your goals in an attainable and energizing way, not to set unrealistic or overwhelming goals.
The Wordsmith’s NaNoWriMo Challenge is to create a 1-3 page book outline and finish the first 4500 words (approximately the first five chapters) of your novel. If you’re continuing a novel, the challenge is modified so you will need to complete an outline and write 4500 new words in November. This challenge will help get the writing juices flowing but hopefully set you up for a manageable pace. Feel free to challenge yourself and set your own goal at a higher word count if you feel that’s more your speed.
“Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.”William Faulkner
If you want to join me, comment below with your name and novel name/idea or contact me to let me know. Participants will be posted weekly and be there to offer encouragement. I offer consultations as well if you need some help during the challenge. I am here for you!
As you begin, you might be wondering how to start. It can be challenging to get past that blinking cursor on the first page, but you can. After facing that cursor a million times and getting advice from many other writers, I’ve compiled some tips and tricks to help you get started.
But what do you do after those first few sentences are out there and the words are flowing? How do you keep going and write paragraph after paragraph rather than fizzling out after the first few pages? Trust me, trying to finish your novel on a writing high is not the way to go. Instead, the best way to keep writing consistently is to plan out a schedule and find a sustainable way to maintain that. If you’re interested in how to do that, I have a few tips from this article that can help you create one.
Need some motivation? The best way to learn how to write is to read. Reading can help you in so many ways. Here are five of my favorite YA novels that you can dive into.
“Read, read, read. Read everything – trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.”William Faulkner
So, will you join me? Will you begin or continue that novel that’s been on your heart and mind? Don’t let this NaNoWriMo go by without diving in. Happy writing!