This November, thousands (perhaps millions) of folks around the world will be writing their tails off. The goal is to write a 50,000-word (or more) novel through the end of November. That works out to a little less than 2,000 words a day.
Sounds impossible? Not if you prepare!
Since I wanted to try to hammer out a novel this NaNoWriMo, I thought I’d take the month of October to prep.
Many, many, people who want to write a book defeat themselves from the get-go, because they think it’s harder than it really is.
Honestly, all you have to do is write one word after another.
Setting a goal to write 2,000 words a day is all you need to get started. After that, there is the follow-through: making sure you set time aside every day to get those words down on paper.
Here’s the big secret: they don’t have to be great!
Focus on a Reasonable Expectation: Just Getting it Done!
If the goal is to write the first draft of a novel, then as long as you get your 2,000 words done each day, you’ve achieved your goal.
Lots of people give up because they don’t think the novel is “good enough.” But remember, there’s only one thing a first draft has to be: it just has to exist.
The improvement comes later.
But before I jump into NaNoWriMo, I wanted to be prepared at least a little bit. Honestly, you don’t need a perfect outline to start writing. You don’t need to have all your characters, themes, setting, etc. all worked out. You just need an idea.
And like a literal journey, once you pick the road (idea), you just start writing.
Like so many other folks out there, I know I can easily run out of steam. So, I sketched out a few possible ideas for my NaNoWriMo story:
Pretty rough ideas. Nothing perfect. Just some jumping-off points that I know are interesting enough to keep me motivated. I have several ongoing writing projects I’m in the middle of, so I was thinking about writing something in those worlds.
But I didn’t want my NaNoWriMo project to be a continuation of something else I’ve done. I wanted to start fresh and see what I end up with.
So, one particular idea sparked my interest. Although I didn’t think I needed to, I ended up roughing out a (very simple) outline for the story:
I am using the Hero’s Journey structure (from The Writer’s Journey) as a guide.
I won’t start writing until November 1, but having some ideas written down beforehand is very useful. Once you start thinking about a story, your creative unconscious can take over. Thinking about your story (or brainstorming) over the next month can get you fired up by the time you put pen to page.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be chronicling my journey. Through November, I hope to post each day about my progress. The actual story I’ll keep to myself (for now), but I will share any insights or ideas that I pick up along the way.
If you’re interested in NaNoWriMo, then check it out! https://nanowrimo.org/