It’s November, which also means that it’s the start of National Novel Writing Month! Here are a few facts about NaNoWriMo, and a few tips on how to successfully write your 50,000 word novel in a month!
What is NaNoWriMo?
National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, began in 1999, as a challenge for writers to write a 50,000 word novel by the end of November. It has gained much more popularity and awareness since then, inspiring competitions, websites, and foundations, including the PVLD Library, which holds a teen writing contest (grades 6 through 12) during November since 2019 for young writers to participate in.
Why Does It Matter?
Writing is a way to express yourself, share ideas, explore creativity, and wander through deepest crevices of your mind. It’s a fun hobby, and can take you to different places, different worlds, without ever having to leave your computer or journal. You can meet new people and discover new species, different ways of life and extraordinary cultures. The written word can transfer ideas and inspire changes in people’s lifestyles. NaNoWriMo is a celebration of the written word, and of writers of all ages and backgrounds. It matters because each story is unique and special, and it deserves to be shared with the world.
5 Tips on how to complete your novel
1. Find a story
This is one of the most important parts of completing your novel. You should have a story that interests you, with characters that you understand and a plot that makes sense. Writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days should not be something to cross off your bucket list—you should write a story because you want to and it feels good.
2. Come up with an outline
Even for all you Pantsers—come up with an outline before you start writing your novel! This is going to make the whole process way less stressful and easier to manage. Detail the different key scenes that develop character or move the plot along.
3. Set up a designated space and time for writing
If you’re the type of person who has a hard time concentrating when there’s a lot going on, then choose a quiet, and (preferably) tidy space for writing. It can be as simple as the desk in your room or a nearby library. If you tend to thrive while being around other people, then go to a local café or bakery and bring your computer/notebook (and a mask!) along with you. Setting up a time to write is also important for completing your novel. This adds more structure to your writing process, and can improve your daily word count.
4. Write; but don’t edit
Like any other book, the first draft should always be crude and not the greatest. It’s a time for you to just get words onto paper and explore your story a little more. As Stephen King said in his memoir On Writing, the first draft should be written for yourself. Do your best to get the raw story out and don’t worry about editing the little things.
Now comes the time for the editing. This, of course, is incredibly important for your novel—it perfects the story. If you have time, ask others to read your story and give their thoughts.