You’ve got your plot outline. Your story notes. And approximately 54.3 liters of coffee. You’re going to write those 50,000 words in the next 30 days even if it kills you. You’re finally ready for NaNoWriMo.
But NaNoWriMo isn’t just about word count. If your goal is simply to dump out 50,000 words of a project, that’s great, and certainly what NaNoWriMo is all about! But this month-long novelling marathon is also an opportunity to level up in other ways, too. Whether this is your first time in the gauntlet or you’re a veteran NaNo-er, there’s so much you can get out of this crazy, exhausting, exhilarating month.
Connect with other writers
One of the wonderful things about NaNoWriMo is the feeling of camaraderie with everyone else who, like you, has decided to eschew sleep and sanity in order to draft a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. Whether you’re commiserating about dreadful word-counts, cheering each other on, or even looking for someone to swap manuscripts with come December, NaNoWriMo is a great time to connect with other writers.
A few good resources for finding other NaNo-ers:
- Word sprints on twitter (hosted by this )
- NaNoWriMo forums: https://nanowrimo.org/forums (I particularly like the Worldbuilding and Reference Desk sections!)
- In-person meet-ups (Check your local NaNo Region for meet-up listings!)
Forming (or keeping!) your discipline
NaNoWriMo forces you to find time to write around other obligations–your job, your family, school, etc. Maybe you found a way to clear your entire schedule for the month of November and tell all your friends and family you’ll see them in 4 weeks, but most likely you still have some obligations this month aside from your writing.
Use NaNo as a testing ground for how you can continue to make time and space for your writing into the next month and the next year. Figure out when and where you write best. Once you get in the habit of protecting your writing time this month, it’ll be easier to protect that time in the future too.
Get outside your comfort zone
NaNoWriMo is high energy, which can make it feel high stakes, but in reality if you crash and burn, the only thing you’ll be losing is a month of your time (and maybe a little bit of pride). So why not use it as an opportunity to work on a project you never would otherwise–that one idea that’s totally outside your usual genre but you can’t seem to stop thinking about it, or the trunked novel from 5 years ago that you’re itching to completely rewrite. Throw yourself wholeheartedly into the project that brings you the most joy–if you fail, you fail, and at least you gave it a shot! And who knows, maybe you’ll come away realizing you should have been writing raunchy high-seas retellings of Welsh fairytales all along.
Yer a writer, Harry
If nothing else, take NaNoWriMo as an opportunity to own the fact that you’re a writer. Even if some (or all?) of it is garbage, you’re writing every day, or close to it at least! That’s something to take pride in, and more importantly, something to take seriously. Whether you reach that coveted 50,000 word or not, NaNoWriMo provides a chance to run full speed at your dreams and see where it takes you.
Have fun drafting everyone, and check in later this month for more tips about prepping and surviving NaNoWriMo!