So, you want to try NaNoWriMo this year. Armed with a glass of wine and Amanda Byrne’s tips, you’re ready to start the 30 day writing marathon. As a NaNoWriMo winner (I wrote 52,000 words last November), I am happy to contribute some useful links that will help you on your writing journey. I call these Productive Procrastination links, because though they can lead you down the road to distraction, they can also help you out with your journey.
Preparing for NaNoWriMo:
Warrior Writer Kristen Lamb had a series of blog posts in the last two weeks about participating in NaNo, and why it trains writers to be writers. The first post is ‘NaNoWriMo: Training Lean, Mean, Writing Machines.’ Another useful post she wrote is ‘Preparing for NaNoWriMo: feeing the muse to go the distance,’ where Kristen talks about the Marathon process. Around the 10 day mark, when you start to wonder why on earth you decided to take on the monumental challenge, her posts will really help.
Author Larry Brooks, who wrote ‘Story Engineering,’ has a series of blogs posts on NaNoWriMo. Specifically, I recommend his Beat Sheet post, which provides a really good outline of the plot points you may want to hit. I’m a mix of pantser and planner, a planser if you will, and while I like to discover the story as I write, I like to have a general direction to head in. His method is useful.
I assume you’ve already signed up for the NaNoWriMo contest through their website. But NaNo isn’t the same without friends. You should make sure you join groups. I’m going to say that I have the best group ever, because I’m part of the Toronto, Ontario group. The reason is the chat room. I found it particularly useful. If I get stuck, there are people who can chat with me about where to go next. But the best part about them: Word Wars. In the chat room, you can invite other members to join word wars for a length of time, from 5 minutes to an hour. You write furiously during that time, and at the end compare your word counts. It’s perfect when you’re stuck because you write the first thing that comes to mind. It’s also great for getting you into the writing mode, especially if you have a day job. The problem comes when they have too many events. The write-ins are pretty awesome, but the whole month can be filled socially. To find your region, follow the Regions link after you’ve logged on.
Another item to motivate you during NaNo are the writing counters. These tie directly to your word count in the NaNoWriMo website. If you’re looking for something you can fill in manually, try Writertopia’s word meters. I use the picometer on my personal website.
If you want to connect with other NaNoWriMos, you can connect with your Wordsmith Studio peeps in our Facebook group, where we have a list of our NaNo handles.
If you’re interested in the self-publishing avenue, and even if you’re not, Joanna Penn at the Creative Penn has many posts on NaNoWriMo, and how participating changed her life. A successful indie author, she’s created classes on platform-building and writing, and has documented her journey to becoming the author she is. All because of NaNo.
If you’re interested in just making it through the month, the Paperback Writer has some really good tips for staying productive.
Finally, if you need more motivation, there’s always this post on why the world needs better writing and how NaNo can help.