Nanowrimo 2018 was a success! Over November I wrote a 50,000 word first draft of a YA novel, while working full time and maintaining a modest social life. The project consumed my spare time, and my blogging, but it was worthwhile. I wrote more in the past 30 days than I did in the past year.
- Write every day. 1,700 words a day is not difficult but the more you skip the more you will have to catch up. Once you get into a steady rhythm, writing will seem effortless. Try and get as much as you can done on the weekend, if possible.
- Don’t look back. You have all the time in the world to revise your words after November. For now focus on getting words on the page – that’s what a first draft is all about. Remember no one has to read your original Nanowrimo submission. Save agonising over sentence flow or the the perfect verb for December.
- Plan in October. When I attempted Nanowrimo in 2016 I had a vague idea of my story at best. After only the first few chapters I hit a wall, with no clue how to keep the plot rolling. This time I familiarised myself with the three act structure prior to Nanowrimo, and wrote a page long plot outline and profiles on all my major characters. It was all subject to change, sure, but the rough notion of where my story was going kept me to the end.
- Set aside time. I cannot stress this enough. On good days I was writing 1000 words an hour, but this was rare. Know yourself and your habits. If you are prone to procrastination then allow three hours a day to reach your target word counts. Stop when you feel you have written enough.
I don’t plan to read my ‘novel’ until January. This will allow me to view it with an objective eye and better revise and recraft my 50,000 words into something I can show others. In the meantime, I will focus my creative energy on art and this blog. To my regular readers, thank you for your patience.
All in all, I am proud of what I accomplished. It’s not a masterpiece, or even a published book, sure, but it’s a start! If you have ever wanted to pen a novel, but struggle with procrastination or writer’s block, I recommend giving Nanowrimo a try. Stick to it and it may surprise you what you can achieve.