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Make NaNoWriMo Work for You by Rochelle Melander

Dear Writers,

This Wednesday, October 31 at 12:00 CT, the Write Now! Mastermind class will be all about productivity. If you’re planning on doing National Novel Writing Month or if you just want to increase your productivity, come hear my favorite tools for getting more writing done. If you’re not already a member, you can sign up here.

And on Thursday evening, I’ll be joining Nina Amir, author of How to Blog a Book and founder of Write Nonfiction in November for a very special class to kick off November, the magical month of write-a-thons! The class will be packed with great tools to help you write a book in November (or anytime). Visit Nina Amir’s website to sign up.

Today’s tip teaches you how to make National Novel Writing Month work for you! Enjoy! —Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach

Make NaNoWriMo Work for You

By Rochelle Melander

When I tell other writers about National Novel Writing Month and my book, Write-A-Thon, they often tell me why NaNoWriMo would never work for them:

*“I don’t write fast.”

*“I don’t write fiction.”

*“I have a project that I need to edit before I write something new.”

*“I don’t write every day.”

*“I don’t work well under pressure.”

If you’re one of the many people who don’t think National Novel Writing Month will work for you, here’s a plan for making it work. Please note that I’ll be encouraging you to buck the NaNoWriMo rules. As an inveterate rule abider, I am just beginning to understand that sometimes we need to break the rules if we are going to write the book we need to write. So here’s how to bend and break the NaNoWriMo rules and win at National Novel Writing Month:

1. Dump the Demons. So when you start thinking, “Maybe I COULD do NaNoWriMo this year,” your inner demons will probably start mumbling derogative things like,

“You really can’t write that fast.”

“You? Write a novel? (evil laughter)”

“Don’t you realize there’s no market for that kind of a book?”

You get the picture. If you want to do National Novel Writing Month, dump these demons and dig in. I know; that’s harder than it sounds. But NaNoWriMo is a good time to try something new and scary. You have nothing to lose. NaNo gives you a deadline and a group of cheering friends. There’s no editor or agent waiting at the end to read your book. Think of the NaNoWriMo challenge as a game—something you’re just playing at, like foosball or ping pong—and have fun.

2. Choose the project that works for you. I’ve used National Novel Writing Month and other Write-A-Thons to work on projects I want to write but don’t have time for. I wrote Write-A-Thon during NaNoWriMo 2009, and in 2010 I wrote a series of books for children. Use this November to write the book:

*you have been dreaming of writing for a very long time.

*in a genre that you really want to explore.

*you have started but have not gotten around to finishing.

*you think you can self-publish and make money from.

*you think would be fun to work on but that may never sell.

And, despite what the rules say, you don’t have to write a novel (you just have to call it a novel). You can use the month to work on your screenplay, a series of poems, or that nonfiction book you have always wanted to write. And if you want more support from writers like you, check out some of the NaNoWriMo-like sites:

*Write Nonfiction in November

*Academic Writing Month

*National Blog Posting Month

3. Define success. For National Novel Writing Month participants, success is defined quite narrowly: write 50,000 words in 30 days or 1667 words a day. But what if you don’t want to write that much? Or what if you really need to revise a project? You can choose to define and measure success in lots of ways:

*Write or revise for a certain amount of time each day.

*Write or revise a defined number of chunks each day: three paragraphs, two scenes, a chapter or a poem.

*Write 1666 words a day (or 500 words a day or whatever works for you)!

The NaNoWriMo site offers you one way to measure your progress: reporting the number of words you will write each day. If you choose to measure success in a different way, develop your own tool: put stickers on a calendar, marbles in a jar, or even money in a dish for each day you write. Give yourself a reward at the end of the month!

In the end, I do National Novel Writing Month as much for the camaraderie as anything. For 30 days a year, more people in the world are doing what I do every day—putting their butts in their chairs and writing. So, come Thursday morning, I’ll be hard at work on one of the projects that has been haunting me for years. How about you?

Your turn: How will you make National Novel Writing Month work for you?



3 Responses

  1. I plan to write a novel. I also want to step up my writing by rereading and blog posting an older Nanowrimo novel. The new novel and the old one have points of contact so I’ll be working the old events into the ongoing story. I’ll also get the older work posted–maybe not all of it, but a good chunk of it.

  2. Pingback : NaNoWriMo…Again « Katherine Hart

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