THE BLOG
05/11/2013 13:36 GMT | Updated 23/01/2014 18:58 GMT

NaNoWriMo: What It Is and Tips to Help You Through the Challenge

So now that we're into November, a mass project has been taken up by people all across the globe. Yes, all over the world people will be picking up pens and opening up their laptops to whittle away some works of fiction. They say there's a novel in each of us and this is the time to prove whether you can get that novel out of you.

I'm talking about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) which is where aspiring and existing authors around the world sit down in the month of November to try and write a novel in a month. It's a challenge that takes a great deal of discipline, focus and creativity but it generates hundreds of new novels every year. That said not everyone has an easy time of it. Below I've provided a few tips to help see you through this month and the writing challenge ahead...

  • Keep on top of all your writing targets! In fact, try to get ahead if you can. Get off to a good start and write too much. This will mean that if you're short of words one day you've already made up for it. Do things in the present that will help you in the future.

  • Avoid distractions. Turn off the TV, unplug from the internet, go somewhere quiet and just WORK. You're not going to write a novel if you're not actually writing.

  • Be strict with yourself. This is a challenge that takes a lot of will power. You're the only one who can make yourself do this work so you have to muster as much discipline as possible but that said...

  • Don't forget to reward yourself too! Every five pages why not have a chocolate or go for a walk or do something nice. Maybe have a relaxing bubble bath at the end of the day. Just make yourself feel good for all the work you've done.

  • Write with others! Let's face it, sometimes being alone sucks. Taking on a challenge like this may be much easier if you do it with other people for inspiration and support. Whether you meet up with fellow NaNoWriMo participating friends or by talking to people on writing websites like Figment you can all motivate, encourage and inspire each other. You can also compete against each other. A healthy spot of competition can go a long way...

  • Don't take too many days off. NaNoWriMo is pretty hands on and you don't want to procrastinate for several consecutive days only to find yourself in a panic trying to do three days worth of writing in an afternoon...

  • Craft the skeleton, then go back and add flesh. There may be times where you feel like your work is a little stale but don't worry. That's what drafts are for. Consider November a time to write out the first draft. Then, in December, you can go through it and add more character development and atmosphere. What's important about NaNoWriMo is actually writing a full novel from start to finish and avoiding procrastination as much as possible.

  • Just keep swimming. Fallen behind? So what! Doubt your work? So what! Everyone finished and you're still writing? So what! What's important is that you're taking part and that is a huge achievement. There's nothing that says you can't continue writing into the month of December if that's what you need. Don't let the pressure get to you; you're only trying to create art and that shouldn't be so stressful.

To all of you taking part in NaNoWriMo I wish you a full, hearty good luck. Pens at the ready, folks!