November’s almost here, and personally I’m all but vibrating with excitement. November! November! November! It’s time to sharpen those pencils, check that USB drive, and get those notes ready. Stocked up on coffee and easy-made dinners? Cleared the calendar for everything not super important? Informed your friends that you’re unavailable until December? Then you’re just about ready to start that novel of yours just itching to get out. Though, really all you need is what’s pictured above. Arrange them in different ways, and you might end up with a book. Not so hard, right?
50,000 words in thirty days sounds a bit daunting at first. Like starting a novel any other time of the year. But then you write the first word, the first paragraph, the first page. And suddenly you have a chapter. Two. Three. Half a book. And then it’s December and you have a — or most of one — rough draft of what might become a real book one day after lots of editing and polishing. And writing blurbs, researching publishers, submitting…waiting! Then, if it’s accepted, there’s the editing, the marketing, the…yep, the waiting. So really, when it comes down to it, the next thirty days will be the easy part of your book adventure. Don’t forget to enjoy it.
I first participated in NaNoWriMo in 2011. The result was what became my first novel, A Thousand Sunsets. In 2012, the result was something that ended up in the desk drawer for a while until I edited into a short story that got published under a pen name. Then the timing was wrong for a few years, but this year I’m ready to kick NaNoWriMo butt again. I’m starting something completely new, something that will hopeful become a series of four books featuring four brothers and their romantic adventures. I’m super excited about it.
I guess this wouldn’t be much of a pep talk if I didn’t offer some tips. You get two. First, you need to figure out how YOU will write 50,000 words in thirty days. If you’ll stick to 1667 words a day, write whatever number you feel like on any given day and hope it all adds up in the end, or some complicated schedule of more words on the weekends than during the week. It doesn’t really matter how you do it, just as long as it works for YOU. Much like writing. We all have our rituals, our way of doing things. Being under a strict deadline is no different. Find your own way.
The second tip is one you’ve probably heard a lot. Don’t spend time looking back and editing. Just write. You can edit in December. The 50,000 words don’t have to be perfect, they just have to be written. Like first drafts in general. So full steam ahead is the way to go.
Tips: Don’t edit. Full steam ahead.
I wish you the best of luck. I have no doubt that a writer who sets his or her mind to meeting a deadline will make it. Willpower is an essential part of doing what we do. And if, for some reason, you don’t finish, then you’ll come back and finish next year because you’re no quitter. It’s how we writers roll.
For the rest of the world, be nice to us this coming month. Please. Even better, bring us a cup of coffee or a meal. We’re busy now, but we promise to make it up to you next month.