Hey there, Opus readers! Erika Schlenker and Opus Prose Editor here with some thoughts on NaNoWriMo. NaNo-What-o? National Novel Writing Month! Every year in November, thousands of people across the world work towards the goal of writing 50 thousand words in 30 days. Basically, participants write a novel in a month, averaging an output of 1,667 words a day. Maybe the idea of being able to say you’ve written a novel is enough to convince you to hop on this journey, but maybe you’re a little skeptical about how you could ever find time to write that much. Either way, I’m here to tell you that NaNoWrimo is a wild, challenging, fun, and immensely rewarding program. As someone who has participated every year since 2008, I’m offering some tips on staying motivated and inspired during the month of November:
1. Before November starts, have the first chapter of your novel written. I’m the worst kind of perfectionist who wants greatness the moment words hit the page. Having high expectations is especially deathly during NaNoWriMo when the concern is quantity of words, not quality. Therefore, I allow myself one chapter to be edited to perfection. A clear staring point that I’m happy with really helps me get over the initial moment of “Holy crap, I can’t do this.”
2. Get visual! The more you know your characters and plot, the less time you’ll waste trying to think of what to write. Defining your story visually is good for letting yourself be creative in different ways. I use www.polyvore.com to create “sets” that include typical outfits, accessories, and other significant items that pertain to my characters. For example:
3. If you have extra time, write more words. This month is all about pacing yourself, but you’re guaranteed a few days when you won’t have time to write at all. If you write more than the average number of words a day, you’ll have some room to skip later on.
4. Tell everyone you’re doing NaNoWriMo. Inform your friends, teachers, internet buddies, pets, EVERYONE. Nothing will make you work harder than wanting to prove your words. Plus, people are more supportive than you think. I told my freshman English professor that I was doing it, and he not only said I didn’t have to write the paper due in November, but he was also willing to outline and plan with me.
Feeling like you could write a novel in 30 days? You can! For more information about NaNoWriMo and access to a plethora of resources, visit nanowrimo.org.
Here’s an awesome song to get you pumped: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78mvUeBw7MM