Have you heard of NaNoWriMo?
"National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30. Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for who has ever thought fleetingly about writing a novel."
NaNoWriMo is great because it gives you a set goal to complete in a set amount of time. It helps you avoid burnout because you have an exact deadline for when writing like a crazy person will end. It's incredibly challenging, inspiring, and overall an experience that every writer should have at least once.
If you're thinking about joining in this year, here are some tips that I've found to be helpful.
Just because the technical goal of NaNoWriMo is 50,000, that doesn't mean you have to either do all that or nothing at all.
The point is to make yourself write way more than you normally do, no matter what that looks like. You can only write 5,000 words and still have an extremely successful NaNoWriMo. You have no idea what good ideas may come out of those words!
Decide on a schedule based on your goal. Do you want to write for a set amount of time each day? Or do you want to write a certain amount of words per day?
My goal is the big 50,000 this year. That translates to roughly 1,666 words per day. However, I know that I probably won't be able to write on most Saturdays, and there are five of those in November. So that brings my goal up to 2,000 words a day.
Look at your lifestyle and schedule, and then make a writing schedule. Be realistic, but also push yourself. It will be incredibly hard, but that's part of the fun.
Do not try to hit all 1,666 (or less, or more) words all at once. Yes, there will be days when you can sit down and pound out far more than your goal, and those days are magical. But on the not-so-magical days, trying to hit your goal all at once will make you want to cry forever.
So break it up! Have two daily goals instead of one. If your goal is 1,000 words, then have two goals of 500 words. Taking a break in between finishing the first goal and starting the second will give you a chance to reboot your creativity. Plus, being able to cross one of those off when you're halfway there feels awesome.
It would be really freaking fantastic for everyone to have a writing partner that lives in the same town as them. Then you could spend days together in a coffee shop, writing the next great American novel and keeping each other from burning out. But this is real life, and that's not always an option.
Still, tell someone. Get an email partner. Blog about it. Just make sure someone other than you knows that you're being a psychotic person and trying to write a novel in 30 days. Sometimes all it takes to keep writing is knowing that someone is going to ask how your book is coming, and wanting to be able to be proud of your answer.
So, are you in?!
Have you ever done NaNoWriMo before? Are you planning on doing it this year?