National Novel Writing Month - "an annual event in which participants commit to writing a 50,000-word novel between November 1st and 30th. It began in 1999 as a challenge between friends, but NaNoWriMo has since grown into a global writing marathon with hundreds of thousands of participants each year!"
Back in October, SV Filice and I were catching up on all things writing when she mentioned NaNoWriMo to me. I had no idea what she was talking about at the time. The Writing Community is filled with names that are always abbreviated and I am just left clueless. But this time was different. I asked her what she was talking about and the rest is history.
On November 1st, I set out to complete not one, but seven writing goals towards my second novel. I started my project (sequel to "Will You Love Me Again?", Where Will We Go?") on March 13th, so by November I was well over halfway done. I didn't let that stop me from participating in this interesting word count challenge with the Writing Community.
Back in April, I posted this: Do you want a sequel for WYLMA? I'm going to deliver! By announcing it, I hope I can stay motivated this time as I research Paris and grow in my writing. So here's to traveling through my writing.
I can't begin to tell you how NaNoWriMo2020 has lit a fire in my soul for writing. I was struggling hardcore with on and off writer's block from June to October. I was three months into my writing process and I hit a wall. I kept hitting that wall, over and over again. Then NaNoWriMo2020 happened and my spark came back.
Have you ever hit a wall so many times that you start to lose hope that you'll ever move past it?
I had hit that point in my writer's block in October. I was frustrated and tired of never breaking down my wall and writing more towards my second novel. I was at a standstill with my goals haunting me every day. Finally, at the end of October, I started to get my spark back little by little. I started making goals and I decided to join in on NaNoWriMo2020. I couldn't be more thrilled with my progress. I want to share some NaNoWriMo tips from my first experience with you. I hope these help you no matter the monthly writing community challenge.
5 NoNaWriMo Tips
1. Writing every day isn't Key to your Success!
Even without writing every day throughout the week I still managed to reach big word count numbers by the end of each week. During the final week (Thanksgiving Week), I wrote seven of the nine days and came out with my highest word count of the month: 13,570.
Set goals but don't stress yourself out over not reaching them. They are mostly for motivation, so let them motivate you to reach for the stars as Woody says!
2. Progress is Progress.
Celebrate all your victories, even the really tiny ones.
I think the one thing writers get caught up in with this monthly challenge is that we have to reach extreme word count goals and writing goals to matter. That isn't the case! Even the smallest goals matter during NaNoWriMo!
So celebrate every milestone!!
3. 50k isn't the ultimate goal - Writing is the winner.
NaNoWriMo is a challenge geared
towards writing and finished a novel in a month's time by writing 50,000 words. I didn't need an entire novel - I could have done 50k, but I didn't need that right now because I was well over halfway through my current novel. So instead, I shot for 30k-50k words for my monthly goal.
A doable and exciting challenge!
On the final day of November, I hit 31,085 words in 30 days! I may have not "won" NoNaWriMo2020, but I won it in my opinion because Writing is the winner!
4. Outlining chapters & scenes helps a ton.
Outlining helped me a ton while I was writing my debut novel, but I didn't originally start out with an outline for my second novel. I took a different approach. It was working for a while until I hit writer's block. Then, I was stuck. My thoughts were no longer coming out in sentence form. So, what did I turn to for this challenge from time to time: outlining each chapter or the chapters ahead while I was writing my current one.
I finally knew where I was going, or at least a little better than before.
5. Read your writing aloud.
Find a quiet place where you can sit and read your writing aloud. Immerse yourself into your character's world and feel every word within each scene.
I, personally, didn't use this method often, but when I do it really helps me see where my characters are going. Especially since my novel is set in Paris!
Don't be scared to try new things because sometimes it can be the best thing for you.
I was in a writing rut a month ago, a month later I am much closer to finishing the project I was stuck on. And that is what new things can do. That's what goals and challenges do for your writing life.
Take it from someone who gets nervous easily, it isn't so bad stepping into a list full of writing possibilities!