Every November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo (say nah-no-wri-mo), for kind-of-short. So, the upcoming NaNoWriMo 2016 is just around the corner.
The idea behind National Novel Writing Month is that you have one month to write an entire novel. There is no prize for succeeding (other than having a finished novel), there is no penalty for not finishing (other than bringing shame to yourself and your ancestors).
What you do get is plenty of writing tips, camaraderie and helpful spirit. You can go as far or as little as you like. You can, of course, just write your own novel in November in silence. You can also sign up for newsletters, mailing lists, local meetups, writers groups, and more. It all depends on how much support you want or need.
The concept is that you write the whole novel, around 60,000 words, during November. If you do some math, that works out to approximately 2,000 words every day. That’s both very easy, and very hard, depending upon what you are writing, and how more mind is working. But, wait! It’s not as easy as it sounds. Don’t forget November is home to Thanksgiving, and depending upon who you are, that means travel, or kids home from school for the week, or three days of cooking and cleaning. In other words, you can’t fall behind, and you probably need to get ahead if you are going to be successful.
The good news is that you can outline, take notes, and do research before November starts, just don’t write a single word until 11/1. For example, my novel opens with researchers in Iceland, so I’m reading up a bit on Iceland. What do they call their sheriffs in Iceland, for example. (They are Constables, and there is one police force for the entire country divided into nine districts. – This kind of stuff you don’t necessarily need for a first draft, but it can’t hurt.)
If that weren’t enough, you should probably know that 60,000 words is a bit on the light side for a published novel, especially from a first time novelist.
That being said, it can be a lot of fun, and a great way to meet and bond with other writers.
How To Sign Up For NaNoWriMo
At the minimum, I recommend checking out the official National Novel Writing Month website at nanowrimo.org to sign up for National Novel Writing Month. If you like, you can announce your novel, fill out your author profile, and read helpful strategies and tips for writing a novel. You can also find local support groups, and sign up for the newsletter.
I’ve never actually gone to a meetup. Like many writers, I prefer my human interactions with strangers to come with a keyboard and monitor in the middle, but I’ve heard good things about them.
My plan is to fire up a novel that I’ve had banging around in my head for some time. I don’t have a title yet, but I know some of the characters and a lot of the plot points.
NaNoWriMo 2016 at ArcticLlama
I’ll spend November trying to crank out my novel, but I’m a working freelance writer as well, so you’ll see me around plenty. I plan to update with NaNoWriMo tips all through November, as well as blogging my own progress and challenges along the way. In the end, hopefully I have a writer’s blog full of a month of new content, plus a first draft of my novel.
How about you? Is there a novel inside of you that can come out in November? Let’s find out.