Ready. Set. NaNo…

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So, you’ve decided to take the plunge? NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) sounds like the perfect chance for you to kick start that novel you’ve always dreamed of writing. Or maybe you’re a seasoned author and you’re using this opportunity to reconnect with the writing community and give yourself a productivity boost. Whatever your reasons for participating, it’s going to be a busy month!

NaNoWriMo challenge writers to produce fifty-thousand words of content in the thirty days of November. While that’s not exactly novel length for most adult genres, it’s pretty close. To win the challenge, you’ll have to write over sixteen-hundred words per day if you don’t take any days off. It’s an aggressive schedule. Are you up for the challenge? Here are a few tips that might help you reach your NaNo goal:

Set a consistent schedule.

This is one of the most important things you can do to succeed, not only during NaNo season, but in your writing career. Writing has to be a priority, and you have to make time for it if you want to finish your projects. Give the 5 am Writer’s Club a try. After work, head to a coffee shop for an hour. On the weekends, block off a significant amount of time in the morning. Look at your calendar, make the time to write, and protect that time fiercely. It’s the only way it will happen.

Participate in community events.

Local, in-person community events are fun and often result in an increase to your word count for that day. The supportive environment gets you in the mood and keeps you physically in one place for a set amount of time. Often, the moderators will run thirty minute sprints, or other incentive based challenges to boost productivity.

Don’t self-edit.

For most writers, the NaNo goal is aggressive. I’m a slow writer, and even when I’m working on an early draft, I tend to do a little bit of self-editing each day. It’s uncomfortable for me to produce a really messy first draft. I had to get over that quickly when I participated in NaNo. Don’t stress over perfect sentence structure. If you can’t quite visualize a scene or a dialogue sequence, leave a note for yourself in that section and skip it. You’ll have plenty of time to come back to it. Get comfortable cranking out raw content quickly.

Work outside your comfort zone.

Because you only have a month to finish what is essentially a nearly complete story arc, it might make sense to work from a more detailed outline, even if you normally don’t like to. Knowing where your story is heading chapter by chapter could make your writing time more productive. Or maybe, if you’re a strict planner, you need to let go a little. See where the writing takes you. Use NaNo month to experiment and see what works best for you. You might be surprised.

NaNoWriMo is an excellent opportunity for new writers to develop solid habits, enjoy the supportive community of fellow authors, and understand what it feels like to work with a tight deadline. Happy November 1st everyone! Ready. Set. NaNo…

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About Author

Tabitha Lord is the award-winning author of the HORIZON series. She lives in Rhode Island with her husband, four kids, two spoiled cats, and lovable black lab.

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