Wow we are halfway through October! That is just crazy – especially because it means…NaNoWriMo 2016 is almost here!
Hopefully all you plotters out there have been prepping your November project for months, and hopefully you pansters have been working on your projects too. Or, you might be like me – coming to the realization that you need to get a move on if you are going to make NaNoWriMo 2016 happen.
I’ll be honest with you all. After NaNoWriMo 2015 I did not think I would want to participate in 2016. Last year, I picked a really bad project to hammer out in a month and because of that I didn’t have the greatest experience with NaNoWriMo. I still won (because winning is important yo) but I hated what I wrote, and have been so overwhelmed by the concept of editing it that I have not looked at the draft one single time since finishing it last November.
I had a lot of excuses for avoiding NaNoWriMo this year. I need to focus on editing my Moon Cursed series. I’m not at a good place in my drafting cycle. I’m going on vacation in November so it will be too hard. But, at the end of the day, these excuses were all just that. Excuses. Despite my hesitation, and my experience last year, I still believe the challenge, community, message and adventure of writing a novel in a month is worth it for me.
So, I am back on the bandwagon and have been brainstorming ideas for what novel I want to write. Mostly, I’ve come up with stories I know I shouldn’t write, as well as a few that seem promising. And because I want you to have a fantastic, successful, winning and satisfying NaNoWriMo experience I am going to share these thoughts with you – because you know, after participating in NaNoWriMo for one year I am a freakin’ expert.
Things you Shouldn’t Write:
–Vague Ideas – Don’t think you can have a vague story concept and take it to the finish line during NaNoWriMo. This is what I did last year and it was a disaster. Yes, I wrote 50,000 words, but I actually wasted a lot of time and agony getting them on the page. If I had developed a clearer picture or planned more it would have made November 2015 way better.
–A story that needs a lot of research: Unless you are a hardcore plotter and have already done all the research, picking a story that requires research such as historical fiction, will slow you down. You won’t have the time to look up facts when you are cramming in an average of 1,667 words a day. You’ll be much better off saving those types of stories for a different time.
–Something too big: 50,000 words is a lot of words, but some stories need even more than that. Unless you are up to the challenge of writing more than 50,000 words in one month or plan to use NaNoWriMo as a kick off for your project, you are going to be disappointed when come November 30th you are worn out, burnt out and only ¼ of the way through your story.
–Something too Important: If you have a story that means a lot to you, that has a really strong message, or that you’ve built up forever in your head NaNoWriMo probably isn’t the time to try and get that story on the page. This is because you will want to edit as you go. It will be hard to push through, writing garbage scenes for a story you really care about. Not all novels can be written in a month, and that is ok.
Things you should write:
–Something Different: If you have been wanting to try out a new genre, perspective, or target age group in your writing NaNoWriMo is a perfect opportunity to experiment with such things. It’s a short time commitment that won’t throw you off course if you end up hating what you try.
–Something that plays to your strengths: We all are good at different things as writers, and we all have things that come naturally that we can write out really quickly. Use those skills to your advantage. If you are great at writing action and can slam out 2,000 words in thirty minutes pick a story with a lot of action scenes to help you reach your goal!
–Something fun: In case you haven’t caught on NaNoWriMo is all about speed. It is much easier to write a light hearted, feel good, easy reading novel in a month than it is to write a complicated, metaphor laden, iambic pentameter driven, hope it wins the Pulitzer Prize, novel. I am not saying the later can’t be done, but I believe you will have a much more enjoyable experience if you pick a less serious and more whimsical project to tackle in November.
–Something You’ve been wanting to write: We all have stories we can’t get out of our heads. I have a lot of individual scene pieces that will keep me up at night as I dream about them. NaNoWriMo is the perfect opportunity to take those scenes without a home and finally put them on a page – even if it is for no other reason than getting them out of your head so you can focus more on other projects.
–Short Stories: If a single novel with 50,000 words seems intimidating – don’t forget that you can write short stories or novella’s too!
–A sequel: Perhaps you already have book 1 of 7 written, you haven’t finished editing that yet, but you know what you want to happen in book 2. NaNoWriMo is a great time to go for it. You’ve already created the characters, world, and set the plot in motion which means half of the prep work is already done!
If you are still unsure about NaNoWriMo let me encourage you to take the plunge. Step out of your comfort zone, prove to yourself that writing is your passion, and be brave enough to do the work it takes to make your dreams happen.
Let me know in the comments below what you are writing for NaNoWriMo 2016! I also have an exclusive extra short scene I want to share with you. It’s fun, sassy and came to me out of nowhere. If you would like to read it e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you a copy.
Good Luck in November and as always
Stay Amazing my friends!