Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Ready, Set, NaNoWriMo

Today is the first day of National Novel Writing Month, and as one of your (unofficial) NaNoWriMo torch bearers I'll be sharing ideas and putting up lots of posts and links every week in November in hopes of helping you along the way.

Some suggestions on how to kick off your NaNoWriMo:

Set up a wordcount widget or progress meter (like Another Little Progress Meter, NaNoWriMo Word Meter or one of Writertopia's Progress Meters) on your blog or web site and update it as you complete new work.

Put together a novel notebook in which to keep your outlines, chapters, research notes and/or other story ephemera (for examples and ideas, check out my Novel Notebook; for notebook making freeware try AM-Notebook, Keynote or The Magic Notebook.)

Write a brief (one or two page) outline of your novel idea (try my Ten Point Novel Plotting Template, William Victor's Novel Outline Summary (.pdf) or Writing.com's Blank Novel Outline.)

Find a NaNoWriMo group near you and attend a write-in or other gathering.

Let your online friends know you're NaNoing by displaying one of this year's official web badges (and if you don't have an image account, feel free to use the 2011 NaNo Web Badges I've uploaded.)

One final thought: before I start any new writing project, I take a little time to think, meditate and get my head in the right place. You're always going to have doubts and fears and other ways to talk yourself out of writing a novel (thirty days isn't enough time, you're not that good, it's too much work, etc.) If you can't dispel those anti-NaNoWriMo thoughts with self-confidence, then agree with them. Say yes to all the negativity. It's absolutely right; you can't write a book, it's too much work, there's not enough time, and you're not that good. Then, for the rest of the month, just do it for the hell of it. That way it's nothing important, no big deal, and there's no pressure to be perfect or publish or even finish. You're simply having some fun.

For more ideas on how to dive into writing novel in a productive manner, try reading my how-to Way of the Cheetah, which is free for everyone on the planet until December 1st.


  1. Anonymous11:56 AM

    Thanks as always for the encouragement. I do so enjoy your site.

    I've jumped into Nano but need to work on an outline or I'll go under. Thanks for the links.


  2. Anonymous5:01 PM

    Yes NaNoWriMo starts today, but more inportant to me....Nightshine is out!!!! Can't wait for march and Nightborn.

    Tara B

  3. I love your tidbits along the way even though you are skipping nano this year. this is my 3rd and while I'm not always in wow over my work I have gotten better and like the next better than the last. crossing fingers for success on this nano minus the interruptions from 3 kids, a dog and a husband who likes to eat dinner at least twice a week :)

  4. Hi Lynn,

    I just wanted to drop you a quick line and say how much I appreciate all the encouragement. Nano is hard, but I'm going to do it this year and Finish The Story NO MATTER WHAT. I think I might get there, if I just keep plugging away, using the story outliners you gave us.

    *dives back in*

  5. I'm not taking part this year but am using it as an impetus for finishing a tricky draft of a WIP - the word count is higher than I'm used to working to and it's (hopefully) going to encourage me to burn through the remaining 40k words and even do some revision. If I'm lucky.

    (And if you have a Mac, Scrivener is a great piece of authoring software. Have been using it for four years now.)