Becoming an author is no easy journey. It takes countless, endless hours of plotting, thinking, drafting, and sometimes sighing in frustration. But it is not impossible, and not always a tragic struggle. With a good support group, a few writing friends, or a trusty thesaurus, you too can be a novelist.
NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, makes it so much easier to become a writer. By setting a 50,000 word count goal, NaNo guides established, amateur, and enthusiastic writers through November to the goal of creating a book. As a NaNoWriMo Municipal Liaison for Maine, I am here to answer any questions, to guide you, and to provide you with any help you may need for your NaNo project.
You may be thinking to yourself several questions. Allow me to answer them with my own experiences. I do not claim to be an expert on writing or on NaNo, but I have much experience with both.
Can I actually write a book in a month? Yes, yes you can. Last year, with many word wars and hours spent drafting, I accomplished a word count of 50,060.
How can I find the time? This may be the hardest part for most of us. Last year I was a substitute teacher during NaNo, and only worked per diem. This year I work a very rigorous full time schedule. It can help to spend 1 hour each day to just write. And, honestly, some times it won’t happen. It is up to you to set the time aside to write, and it is not always the most practical. Finding a writing group or buddy can help you find motivation and set special time aside. I meet Wednesday evenings with a group of writers in my area. We sometimes also meet on Sundays, and will be upping the meeting times as convenient. If you cannot get out to find a group, or individual, to brainstorm and write with then check the forums on NaNo. Send someone a private message, become someones NaNoWriMo buddy on the website!
What if I can’t find a story, or lose inspiration? They are full of useful threads about writing, plotting, world building, drafting, editing, and other helpful pieces. And remember, those writers are reaching for the same 50,000 word goal that you are, and are always willing to help. Writers are welcome to post information on their novels to ask for help and inspiration, and the amount of help offered is certainly not lacking.
What do I do if I finish my novel? Congratulations! You can gloat! Do it! Feel proud! You have accomplished a lot! Be sure to verify with NaNoWriMo’s website to tell them you completed your novel, and at the end of the month you will be allowed access to the winner’s page, which hosts several special offers for programs and purchases. Buy some NaNo swag at a discount!
What happens if I don’t finish my novel? You have not failed. You are still a winner! No matter how many words you put down, you have taken the time to create something, and it is yours. Great work!
Won’t living my life get in the way? Many people have families, kids, pets, other duties. I myself have a husband, a zoo of animals, and am nearly 5 months pregnant. Your time is valuable. If NaNo means something to you, you will find the time.
Isn’t there a mandatory number of words I need to write each day? No. There is a guideline of 1,667 words per day, which evens the amount of work to a reasonable number daily. This is only mean to help you succeed in the 50,000 total word count. Below is the chart I made for myself last year. You can see in it that I had already started with a piece from last year so I made sure to keep track of my words minus the words written prior to November. You can also see that I did not follow the daily guideline. On the contrary. There were days I didn’t write at all, and many when I slacked off. However, I made it work, and you can too.
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If you have other questions, please, do not be afraid to ask. I would love to see more participants in NaNo all the time.
And sign up today, before November 1st, for NaNoWriMo.