Tools of the Trade: NaNoWriMo

Welcome to Tools of the Trade.  In these articles, I’m going to share with you my opinions of the tools and techniques I’ve come across throughout my writing experience, hopefully offering an insight into what works and what doesn’t.

It’s all just a matter of opinions though, so take from it whatever you find useful and bin the rest.  Hopefully there will be something along the way that helps improve your writing experience.

This month, I’m talking about the only thing I can with November on the horizon… NaNoWriMo.

Okay, so this one is a bit of a cheat. For those who don’t know, NaNoWriMo is the acronym for National Novel Writing Month, which takes place every year in November. And it’s not so much a tool, as a way of life!

NaNoWriMo Crest
The NaNoWriMo Crest

The website for the event gives you all the details, along with an abundance of support material, but the basic premise is to encourage people to write 50,000 words over the course of November. That’s almost half a novel for your average fantasy author!

If we do the maths, that’s 1667 words a day. Not an impossible amount, but surprisingly difficult to achieve when you factor in… I don’t know… life?

I’ve flirted with NaNoWriMo for the past few years without really fully investing myself, which means I’ve never got close to the 50k (in fact, I probably struggle to hit that in a year, let alone a single month). That said, I’ve been quite good this month for hitting my daily target (500, for those keeping track), and I’m feeling particularly brave.

So I’ve decided I’m going to go for it again this year. I’m gunning for those 50,000 words. Only this time I’ll be working to the mantra ‘go hard or go home’.

Sure, I’ve still got a full time job and responsibilities as a husband and father to deal with; and fine, I’ve got friends and family I’d like to stay in touch with, as well as Red Dead Redemption 2 sitting pretty in my PS4. But none of that matters. What matters is me getting down 50,000 words in 30 days.

If I can pull it off, if I can climb the Mount Everest of word count challenges, it should be enough to get my WIP over the finish line.

What other motivation do you need? Bring it on, I say! Bring it on!

Now, in the unlikely event I fail, at least I’ll have put down more words than I might otherwise have done. And just one more word is still a step in the right direction.

That’s my advice for you on this one. If you want to write, use NaNoWriMo as a driving force. Spend one month writing as much as you can and see where it takes you. It doesn’t even have to be a novel. You could write a script, or a collection of short stories, whatever takes your fancy. And it doesn’t matter if you hit that 50,000 word target or not, that’s just a goal to get you writing.

I’ve got November’s blog posts scheduled, but I’ve a feeling things might drift into December while I’m focusing on the novel for the word count, but I’ll do my best to post brief updates of my progress along the way (you can even see my word count here). If you’re giving NaNoWriMo a go and need some moral support, get in touch on here, email me, or find me on Facebook and Twitter.

Give it a go. You might enjoy it.

30th October 2018

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