What is NaNoWriMo?
It stands for National Novel Writing Month. The event started with a November challenge to write 50k words in 30 days.
Now, the event runs on other months of the year and you can set different word count goals.
How to get started
Firstly, you will need to create an account on NaNoWriMo. Here you can record your progress and if you complete the challenge you get a certificate. There are also other benefits (keep reading to find out more).
One benefit are the free participant images that you can use to show you are taking part on social media.
It’s best to have an idea of what story you will be working on before you start. Coming up with ideas is never a problem for me. Staying focussed on one is where I struggle – I’m confident NaNo will help fix that.
I asked Instagram and Twitter which project they thought I should work on as I was couldn’t decide.
Set it in stone
Update your NaNo account with details about the project you have chosen.
Write a blurb (the text on the back of a book) and, if you have already started the project, include a sample (I.e. first chapter). You can update this at any point during/after the challenge.
I like to use Canva to quickly make a simple book cover image. It’s also great for making social media pictures.
NaNo can be intense and it can really help if you know where your story is going. An outline is a brief overall plot for your story and helps you stay on track. It can also be useful at the end for writing your synopsis.
I shall be using the snowflake tool in Wavemaker to do this.
It can help to know who your main characters are and their names. Especially, if like me, naming your characters takes time.
Click here for my article on naming characters.
Wherever your story is set there will be an element of world building. You need to consider where they live, the type of homes and people, jobs, education and how it is run.
If you are creating a new world then this will need more thought as you will need to consider everything from species to habitats and vegetation.
My story is set in a post-apocalyptic environment and therefore needs a lot of world building as the nature of our current state has changed drastically.
The setting of your story can be as vivid and diverse as any character. Places have history and can change a lot over time.
By signing up on NaNo you will gain access to some great deals just for writers and some of these are for writing software.
This year, I have chosen to use Dabble Writer again as I love how easy it is to use and it keeps track of my word count so updating NaNo is a breeze.
Click here for my review of this product. I’ll review it again at the end of NaNo as I understand it’s even better now. It is free to trial during November for NaNo!
Writing Buddies/Camp NaNo
Sometimes they run a There are online camps for NaNo participants. It will group you with people that have similar goals or projects. Then you keep each other motivated as the challenge isn’t easy. I loved this during the July challenge but sadly it looks as if camp is running for November.
If you get a group that’s not very active, share how you are doing on social media. Writing doesn’t have to be a lonely business. Connect. Other writers are out there and want to see you succeed. You can do it.
The charm of NaNo is that it gets you in the habit of writing. Try to write every day. Every bit you do is progress.
If you don’t hit your goal, keep writing. If you only achieve 20k, that’s still 20k more than when you started. Don’t quit. Writers don’t quit.
November is notoriously a busy month for me and if it wasn’t for NaNo I’d likely not get any writing done. I never shy away from the challenge and one year I will achieve… maybe, this year.
Let me know if you are taking the challenge and wish to be NaNo buddies.
Links to articles regarding my previous attempt are:
- Reflection on NaNoWriMo (July 2018)
- Camp NaNoWriMo (July 2018)
- 5 Tips to achieve NaNoWriMo (Nov 2017)
- NaNoWriMo (Nov 2017)