Another year has whizzed by and we’re on the eve of one of the biggest annual events for writers: National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).
What is NaNo? Total insanity, that’s what. Every November, writers all over the world are challenged to write a 50,000 word novel and complete it by midnight on the last day of November. This contest helps writers jump start those sock drawer projects and gets them fired up to do the one thing every writer dreams of—finishing a novel.
That’s right, I said finishing. Deep down, it’s not about getting published, it’s about sticking to a goal and feeling that sense of accomplishment that comes when you realize you’ve finally reached the last word of the final chapter.
Wendi had one NaNo under her belt before we began working together, but since becoming partners, there hasn’t been time for anymore. Between writing the Bonds of Blood & Spirit series and the many articles we write for our business, the whole year is one big NaNo. Without the support of our family, friends, clients and fans, writing would be a very lonely, discouraging journey.
For Those About To Write, We Salute You
Writing a novel is exciting, daunting and rewarding. The thrill of reaching that final chapter and the sheer joy of holding that final manuscript in your hand never gets old. We’re all writers, but we’re also something more. Storytellers. You may know nothing about the grammatical technicalities, or what passive voice is, or any of the other number of complications that come with crafting the English language…but if you know how to tell a good story, you’ve already won half the battle.
After all, if we were perfect English majors, we’d put editors out of business.
Here are three bits of advice we have for you to start with:
- Just Tell The Story. Many creative people get hung up on perfection, so much so, that our work never sees the light of day because we don’t want the world to see it until its PERFECT. Sorry, but perfection doesn’t exist. When you start writing, just tell the story. Let it spew from your brain onto the page in one big splat. The plan is to get that idea out of your head and onto the paper. Which leads to point number two…
- A First Draft Does Not a Novel Make. Keep in mind NaNo is just the beginning. When you’re done, you’ll have a completed FIRST DRAFT, or close to a finished one. After that, beta readers and rewrites are the next step. You’ve gotten your story out of your head, now you have to look for those plotholes and clean up the loose ends. Trust me, you’ll have a lot of them.
- Forget About The Numbers. Don’t get hung up on word count. The moment you do that, you’ll be forcing the story. Just write. Write as much as you can each day. True, this is a competition, but it’s a competition against yourself. It’s about follow through. It’s about finishing what you start. If you don’t reach the 50k at the end of the month, that’s alright. Keep going until it’s done.
For this month, Wendi and I will be offering all kinds of encouragement to keep you NaNo’ers going. Support is everything, whether you’re doing NaNo or whether you write all year round. Our group on Facebook, The Behind the Words Studio, is designed exactly for that purpose. This group is a mastermind of writers, just like you, in a small community who share their writing experiences and learn from one another. The group is private and allows us all the opportunity to express our trials, tribulations and triumphs with writing.
Come join us, won’t you? And good luck with NaNo!