It’s November and time for NaNoWriMo, that hideously named but well-intentioned event: National Novel Writing Month. The event, which is international, began in 1999 in San Francisco, with just a handful of writers. You can read more about the history of the month at nanowrimo.org, so I won’t bother to give more details about it here. The important part of NaNoWriMo is this: it is fun to write, and it is more fun to write when you have a group of other writers surrounding you.
While NaNoWriMo is focused on novel writing, and states that its goal is for people to write a 50,000 word first draft of a novel from Nov. 1 to Nov. 30, I would suggest that even if you are not a fiction writer, you can make use of this month.
My goal for the month is fiction-related. I want to write at least three chapters of my second novel, The Artificial Witch, and get the rest of the chapters blocked out. My goal is not to finish my book, but to get past the “sticking point” which has been slowing down my writing. While NaNoWriMo focuses on volume goals, I don’t think that always works for everyone. Getting my ideas focused and clarified for the rest of the book will be just as valuable for me as writing a certain number of words.
So what is your goal? It doesn’t have to be a 50,000-word novel. If you are a fiction writer, you may love to write novels or you may prefer short stories. Your goal might be to write a short story a day. Personally, I think I could spend a year working on one short story and never finish it, but I know people who love the genre, so if you are a short story writer—go for it! If you are a nonfiction writer, what do you want to write and what form should it take? You may want to write a workbook, a textbook, a self-help book, a memoir…the list can go on and on. If you already have a book in the works, maybe an unfinished first draft, or an unpolished second draft, your goal might be to complete your editing. Better to finish the project you have already started than to start another.
In other words, the first step to success in writing is to set your goal. What do you want to write this month? The next step is to develop a plan. Sit down and decide when, each day, you will write, and how much you will write. Make sure it is realistic with your life and your schedule. Planning to write 10,000 words a day may be realistic for one person, while another person may find spending the month completing research for a writing project is what is needed. The final step is accountability. Telling others about your goal is one of the best ways to reach it. But just mentioning “I’m going to write a book this month,” to your buddies in the lunchroom is not accountability. You need a support group of other writers who are also working on a similar goal.
That’s where we, at Open Door Publications, can help. Tell us about your goal and what you are writing this month. Email info@OpenDoorPublications.com, send a tweet to @Publisher_KHM, or write a post to the ODP’s Facebook page. Let’s all join together and spend the month of November writing!