Fancy becoming a Novelist? NaNoWriMo is coming
November’s coming up. It’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).
Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel.
According to a recent survey, the top fantasy job for people in UK is to be an author. So many want to write a book but never quite get round to it or don’t manage to complete their tome. If you’re one of these people, NaNoWriMo might help you.
Each November thousands of people take part, including here on Merseyside, and become part of a thriving writing community. So many writer events these days are quite pricey but with no entry or participation fee, NaNoWriMo is peer run and you don’t have to buy anything, it’s all free, meaning anyone can join in.
NaNoWriMo participants work on their book each day throughout November, coming up with a 50,000-word novel by end of play on November 30.
That’s 1666 words per day for 30 days.
By the end of the month if you’ve stuck with it you will have a rough draft of a novel. Even if you haven’t completed the full 50k word count you’ve still made a start. It’s a win-win if you’ve always dreamed of becoming a novelist.
Award winning and bestselling crime author Elizabeth Haynes, author of Into the Darkest Corner, Human Remains, Revenge of The Tide and Under a Silent Moon, kick-started her career as an author through NaNoWritMo a decade ago.
‘A dear friend told me about NaNoWriMo in October 2005, and I launched myself at it with enthusiasm. I’m one of those people who always harboured dreams of writing for a living, without any sense of belief that could be something within my reach. I always wanted to write a novel, anyway – and this felt like my chance,’ Elizabeth told The Guide. Elizabeth had written shorter pieces before, but lacked confidence to tackle something bigger, and complete a book. NaNoWriMo gave her that much needed boost.
‘For the first time I had a reason to try and resolve plot problems, to let my characters have a life beyond the little scene I’d imagined for them, to create conflict and then try and find a resolution. It was exhausting and exhilarating, and on 1st December I felt a powerful sense of achievement.’
Even now, after all her success, Elizabeth’s first drafts of her novels are penned during NaNoWriMo.
‘I’ve been trying to work out why NaNoWriMo had such an impact on my life, and it gets quite deep. NaNoWriMo gave me a reason to write, helped me grow my confidence, inspired me, encouraged me to keep going when it all felt pointless. Now I’m about to start on my tenth year of November novelling, and I’m itching to get going with it.’
If you like the sound of NaNoWriMo, Liverpool has an online and real time community to help you along. Some people write at home on their own, others go to the library (my own favourite writing space) or meet as a group in coffee shops or the pub. We’re all different, so choose the place or places that suit you the best. Check out the NaNoWriMo website (http://nanowrimo.org/) for details of meet ups and tips.
Tips on how to survive NaNoWriMo
Keep at it. 1,666 words per day sounds a little devilish, but it’s do-able devil. Get up a little earlier than usual, write through your lunch hour, bin off Eastenders, and stay off Facebook. You can find the time if you really want to. It’s only for a month.
There are online and real life NaNoWriMo groups offering peer support. Register on the website and meet up with other Merseysiders to cheer each other on. Follow https://twitter.com/Liverpool_NaNo on Twitter.
Don’t listen to naysayers, the people who don’t understand what you’re doing or why you’re doing it. Ignore those who are sniffy about NaNoWriMo (each year a plethora of writers blog about why they aren’t taking part. Don’t read those blogs. Spend time with your characters, get inspiration from other NaNoWriMo-ers and create your lovely book instead).
Keep your hopes for your rough NaNoWriMo draft realistic. First drafts are always messy, and you’re a number of rewrites away from your novel being presentable. Give your book time. Work on it, love it, play with it, and make it beautiful before you share it with the world, if you show it to anyone at all – lots of NaNoWriMo-ers write for pleasure only, and that’s cool too.
Have fun. Writing is one of the best things to do in the world ever (I think).
And good luck!