It’s November, which means it’s time for NaNoWriMo! That means November is National Novel Writing Month. The aim is to write 50,000 words in November. This year, I’m choosing to do 70,000 as I want the third of the Elabi Chronicles finished.
If I write a chapter a day, I will easily make it. It’s the chapter-a-day thing that worries me a little. So how do people do it, never mind the why. Why is simply because it’s fun, it’s a challenge and basically a month of deadlines which is fabulous.
Certain things will help anyone mad enough to join the challenge. Here are five ideas that might help you. If you’re thinking about it, have a look at Creativity Matters in my shop. It’s a fabulous book with reasons to write. It will inspire you even if it’s not for this November.
So, here are my five essentials for an enjoyable NaNo.
1. Set a goal that inspires you. I know, it’s usually 50,000 but there’s nothing to stop you from doing 10,000. It’s still more than you have written if you don’t sit down at all. Don’t be put off by an impossible goal. But look at the project as a whole, not a bunch of words. Is it a memoir? A novel set in that quaint village you drove through? A series of poems that have been lurking in the back of your mind? A message that has been weighing on your heart for a long time? Feel free to dream, to create a picture of your project. Pray it will be the right thing to write.
2. Break the word count up into days. Basically, it’s less than 2,000 words each day. Still too much? No worries, work out what your reasonable goal would be each day, and times it by 25, so it gives you a few days off, and you have your NaNoWriMo goal. Make a poster with goals to tick, and things to cross off. Make it visible and manageable. Use the kids’ star chart!
3. Reward yourself. What do you get for each milestone? Every 2,000 words maybe? Or a five-day streak? A chapter finished? Whatever another small goal is, think of a treat. Plan rewards, so that when the going gets tough, you have something to look forward to. Maybe a sunny walk with the kids, or an actual hot coffee?
4. Enjoy the opportunity to tell a story. See it as daydreaming on paper. Don’t think of it as a chore. Words that are written can bring so many blessings. They might need editing, scrapping, and changing, but it’s not like the washing up, cleared only to reappear in an even dirtier format. You’re creating something, unburdening yourself, enjoying yourself. Before you sit down to write, remind yourself what you liked so much about your project. What inspired you? Make a poster, a bookmark, a post-it note with it on, so you have a visible encourager.
5. Join others in the mad struggle. There are forums where you can find your people or Facebook groups. There might be people local to you. It helps. Not just for encouragement but also for accountability. Seeing their numbers go up helps you to write another two hundred words, knowing how pleased they will be for you. Remember you’re not doing it alone. Most of all, write something that blesses you and might bless others.
November is a long, dreary month, but writing brings warmth into our souls when we share Christ, and when we see our characters struggle and overcome. Enjoy the joy of creating!