We’ve done a post for Inktober, and now it’s time to talk about NaNoWriMo – the time where nearly every writer under the sun holes up and slowly loses their grip on reality. The month of November is a sacred month for novelists. We plan for it months, or even a whole year in advance. Well, some of us do. Others like to do what we fondly refer to as “pantsing”.
The whole point of NaNoWriMo is to write a novel (or at the very least 50,000 words) in the space of a month. It’s a noble and insane ambition, but what have we got to lose? Most of us have at least one novel knocking around in our heads. The key is to have the courage to get it out on paper. NaNoWriMo is kind of like liquid courage. There’s something about signing up, committing to a novel, gabbing with other writers, attending write-ins in our area, and getting a motivational email in our inbox every day that makes it that much easier to hit that 50,000-word count goal.
Of course, that goal doesn’t come without sacrifice. There’s a lot of late nights, bottomless coffee, and tears. This is one of those months where this quote seems exceptionally poignant:
If you’ve committed to getting your novel written in NaNoWriMo, you’re going to need to make a lot of sacrifices. Sometimes, it’s best just to let people know in advance that you won’t be able to make it to social engagements. You can probably say goodbye to your sleep pattern, too.
Of course, that doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things, does it? The world needs your novel. Your characters deserve to be written, and that awesome plot must be told!
To get through the month, you’re going to need a little inspiration. Sometimes that comes in the form of a bottle of wine, and that’s okay. What’s good enough for Hemmingway is good enough for the rest of us.
And if anyone complains that you’re too busy, just brush it off, put them in your novel, and kill them creatively. Trust me, it’s amazingly cathartic.
The most important thing you can remember while gearing up for NaNoWriMo is that writing a novel is a marathon, not a sprint. NaNoWriMo might feel like a sprint, and in a way it is, but getting out that rough draft isn’t the only part of writing a novel. Once that draft is out, you’ll have to edit it at least once, and if you’re going for publication there will be even more steps. While that might sound discouraging, don’t let it get you down.
Let this rough draft be your freedom. Even if those 50,000 words aren’t particularly good, they still exist. Remind yourself every time you put your fingers to your keyboard or your pen to paper that you aren’t writing a novel. Not really. You’re just shoveling sand into a box so you can build castles later. Write those 50,000 words and when November is over, pat yourself on the back and be proud. You wrote your novel. It’s out there. No matter how bad that rough draft is, you can always fix it.
So don’t stress, sit back, plan as much or as little as you want, and don’t forget to have fun. After all, that’s what this is all about. Write your novel for you first. Tell yourself the story. Everything else comes second.
Keep calm and write on!
Your Novel Awaits!