Updated: Nov 13, 2019
November is right around the corner. If you’ve decided you’re going to do National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), you might be starting to feel a little nervous, especially if you’ve never done it before.
It’s good to know just what you’re signing up for so you can prepare and make sure doing NaNoWriMo is the right decision for you this year.
Here are 5 things you can expect from NaNoWriMo:
1. Solid first draft: It’s very unlikely you’ll emerge from November with a polished, publishable manuscript. And that’s okay. What you should aim to end up with is a strong first draft that you can continue to work on and polish after NaNoWriMo. So you’re not going to end the month with a perfect, finished novel, but you won’t be starting from scratch, either. And now you have a ton of material to work with!
2. Stress: Yes, you are going to be stressed. Think about it: you’re trying to accomplish an enormous amount of writing in a short amount of time. It’s not going to be easy. There will be times when you’ll think you are a terrible writer. There will be times when you think you won’t make it to 50,000 words.
Know that you’re not the only person who feels like this. In fact, almost every NaNoWriMo writer is going to feel frazzled at one time or another. So give yourself a break, ask for support from the people around you and from other NaNoWriMo participants, and do what you need to do to keep yourself emotionally healthy during November.
3. Good days and bad days: Some days your writing will come flying out of you, and other times you’ll feel completely blocked. Even if it’s just not coming, you still need to write. Get something down on the page, and come back to it later. There might be something great in there—and even if there isn’t, it’s okay to completely rework what you’ve written after November. The important thing is to keep up the habit of writing every day, even if you feel stuck.
4. Physical: It may not seem like it, but NaNoWriMo is going to be difficult physically. Make sure you have good posture as you type so you can avoid carpal tunnel problems and back aches. And don’t use it as an excuse to skip out on your exercise and not take care of yourself. Remember the basics: drink lots of water, eat something other than junk food once in a while, and get up from your desk and move your body. Maybe you can even find another NaNoWriMo writer to be your exercise buddy for the month (or longer!).
5. Fun: NaNoWriMo is going to be hard, but it’s also going to be really, really fun. You’re going to discover new things about yourself as a writer. You’ll also get to create an entire world from scratch where you can do literally anything you want. NaNoWriMo is a great chance to write the kind of story that you’ve always wanted to read but no one else has ever written.
Now that you know what to expect, are you prepared?
Pre-planning your novel is the key to NaNoWriMo success. You will need to write an average of 1,667 words per day if you are going to reach the 50,000-word finish line. You simply won’t have the time to reach your daily word-count goals if you are also inventing your story at the same time. It’s vital you have your plot, characters, and scene figured out before you begin.
That’s how we can help. We’ve developed The One-Month Novel Workbook. It has 64 pages of worksheets to help you brainstorm and organize all of the details you need to plan in order for your story to be a success. In addition to sections about plot, characters, and scene, the workbook has word-count trackers, self-care ideas, tips about how to stay focused and motivated, and more.
Good luck during NaNoWriMo! If you have any questions or want to chat about writing skills, email us at Erin@dotanddashllc.com.