That novel you've been talking about writing for years? It's time to just do it. November is National Novel Writing Month, an annual challenge where writers put together 50,000-word novels between Nov. 1 and midnight on Nov. 30.
Chris Baty founded NaNoWriMo in 1999 in the San Francisco Bay Area with only 21 participants. Only six of those 21 participants completed the challenge. By 2001, 5,000 people signed up for the challenge. In 2014, 175,002 people participated, with 40,325 meeting the goal.
The rules of NaNoWriMo are simple. Just write until you finish, and then if you finish early, keep going. From the website: "National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30. Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought fleetingly about writing a novel."
— Nathaniel Payne (@nathanielpayne) November 2, 2015
Participants can earn badges on the website when they meet word counts, share their progress with the #NaNoWriMo hashtag and share the experience with other writers. Novels of 50,000 words include "Of Mice and Men," by John Steinbeck, and "The Notebook," by Nicholas Sparks.
Below are 10 tips to have a successful NaNoWriMo.
1. Just focus on writing a draft, not a literary classic.
2. Come up with a plan. Do you want to create a plot first or just write whatever comes out? It's called plotting versus pantsing.
— Me, My Shelf and I (@MyShelfAndI) November 1, 2015
3. Make the challenge a priority. Ignore Netflix. Stop hanging out with friends if need be. Just get it done.
4. Decide on a daily writing goal. You could aim for 1,667 words a day, or write more on the weekends and take it easy during the workweek.
5. Create a writing schedule. Will you hit your daily word count in the mornings or at night?
6. Figure out where to keep your writing. Google Docs seems easy. Or will you email yourself a draft or use a storage site like Dropbox?
7. Don't worry about writing a book that will get published or that people will buy. The goal is just to get into the habit of writing.
— Katherine Kline (@K_Kline_) November 1, 2015
8. Ignore any doubt. Just keep going.
9. Edit sober.
10. Drink wine. Wine loves writers.