Oh no…It’s that time of year again: National Novel Writing Month a.k.a. NaNoWriMo. Like splashing cold water on your face, the start of November wakes you up to the realization that only by writing can you complete a novel. After all, writers write, right?
To help you on your NaNoWriMo journey, here are 5 rules to avoid failure:
- Write. You must write. After all, NaNoWriMo is not about quality, it is about quantity. 60,000 words must be written by the end of November. You have
3029 days, start calculating
- Reread. Grab your favourite novel and begin dissecting it. Ask yourself (repeatedly): Why do I love this novel? Aim to find 10 reasons. Take those reasons and apply them to your own work. Try to get your hands on a copy of Reading Like A Writer by Francine Prose (it’s, also, available for Kindle).
- Silence. Shut up your inner blabbermouth. Do not speak about NaNoWriMo, writing and, most definitely, what you are writing to anyone unless you have a very good reason. Why? I’ve learned from personal experience, that speaking about your story only serves to take the energy away from writing it. I think most people like having something that is uniquely theirs. When you share your story with many others, the story stops being wholly yours because you have opened it up to the input/influence of others. Treat your story like a rare gem, even if you know that it isn’t and it’s just a rip-off of your favourite novel–still, it’s yours.
- Fast-Foward. Never reread or edit what you’ve written. Once you’ve hit 60,000 words, or better yet, once you’ve written The End, you can reread and edit to your heart’s content. For this month, simply write. I recommend not to use programs like MS Word, which act like the grammar and spell-check police. Instead try a program like ZenWriter (free trial download).
- Enjoy. Hey, it’s only writing. You chose to participate in NaNoWriMo. You chose to write a novel. No one is forcing you to do it. Every time you pick up that pen or pencil, type on your computer or typewriter, it is an act of choice and self-empowerment. Enjoy it, revel in the fact that the world that you create when you write is completely under your control. Reality can be harsh, let fiction be your healing.
So, Happy NaNoWriMo & Happy Writing, Everyone!