NaNoWriMo is just around the corner

It's that time of year again. November is almost here. For some, this means that the holiday silly season is about to begin, but for many writers, November is an extremely important time of the year. November is NaNoWriMo.

For those who don't know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, although, it really should be international. Basically, writers commit the month of November to their writing, aiming to write a minimum of 50,000 words within one month. It may sound like a lot of words to some, but the first Harry Potter is 76,944 words.

NaNoWriMo is FREE to join, but the benefits of the program go beyond the prizes that winners get at the end of the month. The community of NaNoWriMo is huge — truly international. There are motivational posts from established writers (like Grant Faulkener, Neil Gaiman and Brandon Sanderson, just to name a few). You have access to the community forums, and there are events that are run within local regions.

To join, just go to the NaNoWriMo website and sign up. To get access to everything, you just join, but if you want to be in for the prizes at the end of November, don't forget to specify a project.

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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: Shift your goal away from word counts

Events such as CampNaNo and NaNoWriMo focus so heavily on word counts, but to some that word count target is daunting and out of reach. These events, while rewarding high word counts, are actually about developing a habit for writing — a little more everyday. As such, shift your goal away from word counts or pages. Aim to finish that chapter today, or that scene. In the end, the word counts don’t matter; the fact that you’re writing does.
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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: Add Zombie Bunnies… It means more than just that.

There is a saying, “If you get stuck, just add zombies.” (But this is CampNaNoWriMo, so we’re going to say, “Time to add zombie bunnies.”) While some writers will take this literally, it means much more than that. If you are starting to feel that your story is dragging, that’s a sign that you need to change it up. Adding in flesh-eating monsters is just a way to create instant tension, but there will be ways to do that which will fit your story better.
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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: Can’t see the scene? Make notes and move on.

When writing a first draft, don’t feel obligated to write every single scene out in full. Sometimes our imaginations just don’t see the little details — fight scenes, in particular, can be the most complicated to write because you might not be sure whose POV you should be using. Make notes about what you can see. Write down the details that are vital that you do know. Then move on. The nitty-gritty is something that you can always come back to when you have a few more details.Read More

Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: Small steps are needed to make the giant leap.

You hear it often, but how many actually listen: take that big goal and divide it into smaller, more manageable chunks. This a philosophy can be applied to every aspect of our lives. For a writer, this means looking at that draft in sections. If you’re writing a first draft, but aiming for a specific word count (like one would during NaNoWriMo), you don’t try to get your full word count in one night (unless you’re a masochist). Instead, you write one chapter, one paragraph, one sentence at a time. It’s the same with editing. Even a long jumper needs to take those smaller, running steps before they can make the giant leap.Read More

NaNoWriMo is over. Let the editing begin.

November is over, everywhere around the world. Congratulations to all who have met the 50,000 word target, but an even bigger congratulations to all those who actually wrote that story that was whizzing around in your heads. But with NaNoWriMo over, now is the time to think about the next steps in your writing journey.

The first thing you need to do is ask yourself the following question: have you finished that first draft in its entirety? Have you actually typed those coveted words of The End?

If the answer is no, then stop reading this post right now. Get your butt over to your manuscript and carry on writing. I mean it. This post will be here when you’re finished. Come back when you actually have a full manuscript to work with.

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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: Get the contact details for your NaNo buddies.

If you forged any good working relationships with anyone during NaNoWriMo, bonding over NaNoWriMo, ensure that you have devised a way in which you can stay in touch after NaNo. Don’t rely on the NaNo mail system. Some people only check their NaNo mail during NaNo, or in the weeks leading up to NaNo. Come December, some don’t bother to log in again until the next year. This is particularly important for events like CampNaNo, where the cabins are shut down shortly after the event is over.
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Helpful Tips

Tip of the Day: NaNoWriMo word counts include EVERYTHING written during November.

At the start of the month, you set the novel that you were going to write into the NaNoWriMo system, but you feel like you haven’t done anywhere near enough on that novel. In fact, you’re looking at the word counts and are panicking. You’ve only written a tiny fraction of what you were planning to write. But how many other things did you write during the month of November? Did you write any blog posts? Did you write poetry? Did you write a little piece of flash fiction? Did you make notes on that piece of research you had to do, writing a couple paragraphs about that? EVERYTHING counts. You may not have written much on the project that you had intended to write, but if you add everything that you wrote during November together, you might be pleasantly surprised as to how much you actually did write. Remember, NaNoWriMo is really about developing a regular habit for writing.
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