If you’ve ever dreamt of penning your own novel but found yourself lost in the whirlwind of life’s responsibilities, you might not have heard of Nanowrimo or National Novel Writing Month.
Every November, writers from all corners of the world unite with a singular purpose: to draft 50,000 words of a novel in just 30 days!
I remember the first time I came across the term ‘Nanowrimo’, and I was both curious and overwhelmed. 50,000 words seems like a lot to achieve in just one month. But when you think about it, that’s just 1667 words a day.
And, boy, the people at Nanowrimo have thought about it.
Wait, how can I write 1667 words every day?
Believe me, I’ve asked myself this question many times. Like everyone, I have a daytime time job and then a nighttime fascination with words. But I have friends, family and all the other things that make life rich too. And like anyone, there are years when even my regular writing routine outside of Nanowrimo gets disrupted. Yet, every year, as November approaches, a newfound determination settles within me.
Call it madness. Call it an obsession. Perhaps call it being blinded by optimism. Every year, on the strike of midnight on All Hallows Eve… I write.
Here’s a not-so-secret fact about Nanowrimo: you don’t have to write 1667 perfect words every day.
They have to be words.
They can be words that are useful or words that aren’t. The goal of Nanowrimo is to help set a sustainable habit you can take with you beyond the month of November.
Sure, there are years where I churned out 10,000 words a day, but there are far more years where I plodded along at the right pace and didn’t kill myself.
For those wondering how to write every day, the answer is simple — set a reminder, find a spot that is vaguely reminiscent of quiet, and write without overthinking. Some days, I’ve written as much as 12,000 words in a single sitting. On other days, I’ve barely managed 500. But what’s important is showing up and keeping the momentum going.
One tip that worked wonders for me, in the beginning, was breaking the day’s word count into smaller chunks. Instead of feeling the pressure to write 1667 words in one go, I’d write in 300-word sprints.
How actually to get started with Nanowrimo
So, how does one plunge into the exhilarating world of National Novel Writing Month?
First and foremost, head over to the official Nanowrimo website and create an account! It’s free, and there are so many fun people to talk to. This platform is not only your tracking tool but also a goldmine of resources, pep talks, and forums where you can connect with other writers.
If you don’t have a region because you fall between some geographical cracks (like me), there’s even a rest of the world (elsewhere) region you can talk to.
Next, prepare yourself mentally. Writing a novel, even outside of the Nanowrimo timeline, is a commitment. But remember, it’s okay not to have everything planned out. Sometimes, the best stories emerge when we least expect them.
Some of my favourite scenes I barely remember typing!
See you on the starting line?
Before November kicks off, I normally like to establish a comfortable writing spot in my home, stock up on my favourite snacks, and, most importantly, let loved ones know why I might seem frazzled or confused. Never underestimate the value of a good pep talk from someone you love!
As I gear up for another round of Nanowrimo this year, take this as your sign to join!
See you on the starting line. 😉