Tonight was the third annual Calgary Wrimotaur NaNoWriMo Newcomers Night here in Calgary. That means that all of those nanoers who are just starting out on the nano adventure, or those that have been doing nano for a while but have never been to a meet were invited out for an evening of meet and greets, tips and tricks and basic info for nano.
Which got me thinking about what I wanted to post on my blog tonight. I talk about nano a lot. I've shared my stories, but I"m thinking that maybe it's time that I broke it down for my readers.
NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is a program that is run during the month of November. The goal of nano is to write 50k words in a month (or 1667 words a day for 30 days). Ultimately the idea is to have a finished novel at the end of the month, but let's face it, most of the time 50k doesn't create a full novel.
The basic idea of nano is to stop thinking about writing a novel and actually write one. How many times do you say 'I would love to write a novel' then complete the thought with 'but I doubt I could ever finish it'? That's not something you'll be saying after doing NaNoWriMo. Because, by the end of the month you'll have 50k words that you've written (they may not be great, but they're words), and you'll have written a novel.
Now, you may be sitting there gaping at the screen thinking '50k words, is she freaking nuts? She wants me to write that in a month? ONE MONTH?!?' But, let me assure you, you can do it! I know because I've done it, and I've thought that very thing myself. My first nano I was extremely nervous because I didn't know how I was going to write that many words while still working a full time job. I know because pretty much every single person who has ever done nano has had that thought as they were anxiously awaiting the arrival of November.
You can do it!
If you need to, break down that huge number in to the 1667 words you need in a day. That can seem a lot more doable than 50k in a month (even if they are, essentially the same number). If you know that you're not going to be able to write one day, make sure you get extra words ahead of time. And never, NEVER, stop at exactly 50k, because I can assure you that the nano counter will inevitably take away words at the end of the month because it decided that you're program doesn't count words correctly.
You can do it!
If you get stuck, there's a community out there that is eager to keep you going. Every region has a chat, and if they're anything like ours, someone is always there willing to word war, or encourage you, or even give you a plot idea to get you going again. Even better are the in person events, because you get to see all of those people around you struggling with the same goal as you, each of them sleep deprived and ready to murder their characters (which really only makes it more fun...)
You can do it!
Because you want to. Because those words are bouncing around in your head just waiting to be put down on paper. There are characters that are screaming for their voices to be heard, and you can't just let them keep screaming.
Remind yourself every single day that you can do it. That this isn't an unattainable goal. That no matter how far behind you get, you can always catch up, even if it does take some encouragement.
If you need that extra shove, you know where to find me (here, where I'll be posting a blog a day, or on twitter). I'm more than willing to be the one to ramp up your excitement once more and put you back on the front lines of nano.
Are you planning on doing nano this year?