Well, here we are. Day one of the adventure that is “31 Days of NaNoWriMo Prep.” Now, I won’t lie. I’m a little nervous about this month. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love writing, and I love giving people writing advice, but to tackle 31 topics in 31 days is a pretty big task to take on. I think I can do it, though. So, with that said, let’s jump right into it.
To prep you for NaNoWriMo, I figure the first step is to make sure you know what NaNoWriMo even is. For those of you who have never seen or heard this weird amalgamation of letters before, let me break it down for you. Na = National. No = Novel. Wri = Writing. Mo = Month. Put it all together, and you get National Novel Writing Month. However, that’s quite the mouthful, so I think you get why people have shortened and simplified it over the years.
So, National Novel Writing Month. It’s exactly what it sounds like: One month out of the year–namely, November–where you’re encouraged to write a novel. “A whole novel?” you ask. Well, technically, the goal is 50,000 words. But, yeah. That could very easily be a whole novel, or at least the first draft of a novel. And this isn’t just a national holiday or something. It’s an event, run on a website where you can track your writing progress, buy merch, and much more. Which probably leads you to ask, “Well, how do I sign up?” I’m glad you asked, young padawan.
The first step is simple. Click here. It’ll take you to the official NaNoWriMo website.
The next step is also pretty simple. You see that button on the menu that says “Sign Up”? Click it!
Now you’ve just got to fill in all of your information and click that other button that says “Sign Up”. They’ll send you a verification email, and once you’ve verified your account, you’re good to go!
Okay, so you’re verified. What now? Well, there’s lots of things you can do. You can update your author info, to let people know a little bit more about you. If it’s October (I mean, I don’t know when some people will be reading this blog) you can define your novel. You can also go to the forums and start chatting with fellow writers about a ton of interesting writerly topics!
When November comes around, that’s when you’ll be updating your word count. A box will appear up by your username, and you’ll use it to keep track of how many words you’ve written so far. I recommend updating your word count at least once a day, in order to keep you on track with your writing goals.
(I had to steal this picture from the NaNoWriMo FAQ because, obviously, it isn’t November yet and so that ‘lil box isn’t there yet.)
So now that you know how it works, I’ll bet you’re wondering what the point is of actually participating in NaNoWriMo. I mean, you can write a book any ol’ month, right? Well, there are some perks to participating. Allow me to enlighten you.
First, it gives you a solid goal to shoot toward, not only monthly (50,000) but also daily (1,667). So if you’re one of those people who have a hard time motivating yourself to write every day, this gives you some good incentive. Because, trust me, once you fall behind, you’ll have one hell of a time trying to catch up again.
Second, it encourages you to push aside your inner editor and just write. After all, that word count isn’t going to go up if you just spend the whole month writing and then rewriting the same scene over and over again until it’s “perfect.” With NaNoWriMo, the chances of you actually completing your novel–or, at least, making a significant dent in the first draft–are high.
Third, it provides you with forums (remember? I showed you those!) that help you connect with people going through the same writerly troubles as you. Can’t think of a title for your novel? There’s forums for that! Can’t figure out how to get past that glaring plot hole? There’s forums for that, too! If you’ve got something you want to talk through, there’s a forum for you (lol, that rhymed).
And fourth, it’s fun! I don’t know about you, but I love challenging myself, especially when it comes to writing. NaNoWriMo provides the perfect challenge, the kind that gets your adrenaline pumping and your writing gears going at top speeds.
All that said and done, I highly, highly recommend participating in NaNoWriMo. It’s a great experience that helps a lot of authors produce a lot of great work. If you’re looking for a fun challenge this November, go ahead and make the plunge with me and follow along for the rest of the “31 Days of NaNoWriMo Prep,” where I’ll be teaching you all about writing a novel, from concept to completion! If you don’t feel like reading a super long blog post every day, then hop on over to my YouTube Channel, where you can get all of the same information, but in video format!
So, thank you to everybody who read this blog post all the way through! I hope you enjoyed it, and I’ll be back again tomorrow with Day 2, where we’ll be discussing how to decide which story you’ll be telling this November.