One of the biggest challenges faced by any writer, beyond the writers block, the originality, the characters and the plot, is the motivation to write at all. As much as we love it, at times, it can be daunting to sit and stare at that computer screen, willing the words to come. Finding motivation and support in this endeavour can be a hard task to take, but if you have others willing to take it with you it can make the transition a little easier.
Enter Nanowrimo, also known as National Novel Writing Month. Every November, writers far and wide take the challenge to either start a new project, or finish that favorite we’ve been stuck on for ages. The purpose is to write 50,000 words over the course of November. Yup. 50,000 words. It is a lot, and can be a terrifying number for some of us. But beyond the number the challenge gives us, it also gives us a group of fellow wordsmiths who are working towards the same goals.
I have participated in Nanowrimo the last 2 years, and thankfully have completed my word counts each year. Last year, I made 50,000 in the first two weeks. Granted, it required me to lock myself in my room and pour over the manuscript like a mad woman, living in the world I was creating more than the reality around me. Not that I’m sorry, mind you.
Yet again, this year, I will be taking part in Nanowrimo with other amazing Wattpad writers. I have already started plotting, thinking of my characters and getting ideas for my plot arch. But for those who have never taken this challenge before, you might not know where to start. But even if you don’t make it to the full 50,000, Nanowrimo is the perfect excuse to get to work on that idea that has been percolating in your mind!
That is where we come in! Want to take part in Nanowrimo this year? Want to win!? We’re gonna give you five tips to hitting that 50,000 word count goal and winning the title of Nanowrimo champion!
Not every writer is a planner, and thats okay. You can be a pantser (fly by the seat of your pants) writer, or even a pantyliner (a mixture of plotter and pantser) and still be a success in Nano. But from experience, doing a little ahead-of-time planning can make a big difference in your end goal. It could be making notes on your characters, their appearances and conflicts, or even going all out and doing a full on plot mapping.
Some good tools to use are these:
Scabble – it is basically one of the best mind mapping tools I have come across, and suggested at the recent #wattcon2017 event by uber writer LD Crichton. With this tool, you can put your story in the middle, and spindle out the characters, their features, internal/external conflicts and more. Maybe you want to break down your chapters, which Scabble can help there too! Head each chapter, and connect points under each, then link them to later chapters all in a colorful and interconnected mapping system. Personally, I have both maps going, for character plotting and overall plot arching with my project.
Another tool that is an amazing resource, is one that will help you with you plot arch and overall story. Sometimes as we write, we can forget some essential steps for making a solid, all around winning manuscript. The Heros Journey by Joseph Campbell. This tool helps you flesh out your conflicts and character motivations, with a seamless and easy to follow graphic.
Make a Schedule
Again, if you’re a pantser, this may not be your favorite part of the writing process. But when your goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days, a schedule can be your ticket to success. Treat it like any other calendar scheduling, and make sure you include time in your day, every day, to write. An hour is always a good starting point, and not so long that you feel overwhelmed. Think of a time in your day that you usually have a little free time. If you usually use it for TV or Netflix, maybe switch it out for writing time during Nano. But the main point of scheduling is to dedicate yourself to sticking to it. It isn’t always easy, but a necessity in this kind of event.
If You’re Motivated, Keep Writing!
This is a big one for those of us that have the dreaded effects of writers block more often than not. While some days that hour your scheduled to write may fly by, other days, it drags in the quintessential example of Einsteins Theory of Relativity. However, if you find that you are having one of those days that the words are flowing like champagne at a Hollywood party, this is the one time you’re allowed to break your schedule. Keep writing! Stay in character, immerse yourself in your world, and write until you feel yourself slow and struggle. These are the times that will make up for the days where you cant seem to string two coherent words together, and in the end, might make or break your Nano win.
Get a Support System
This is the biggest and best tip I can give for Nano. There are groups on the Nano site (see the next tip) or even groups on Facebook, twitter and more, of fellow writers taking part in Nano and looking to form support groups. Here, you have fellow writers you know exactly what you’re going through and what you mean when you say you’re stuck in a plot loop or your character is haunting your dreams and they won’t think you mad. And don’t just join these groups because we said so. Join them and interact. Ask for suggestions, get ideas, and help each other out. This is a support group, a way to keep track of each others projects, and cheer each other on during the entire month! And at the end, you will have people ready and excited to read what you’ve created!
Use the Tools at Nanowrimo.org
This site is your one stop shop for all things nano. Here, you can find groups and individuals to join and follow, and check out tips and tricks directed from those who created Nano. But on a personal level, and one that I find a huge motivator since I am so visual, you can keep track of your writing with daily tallies, and watch the graph change with your progress. You can also check out message boards, find local writing groups in your area and more. It is a definite must use during the Nano fever.
These are just a few tips and tricks that I have found useful during my Nano experiences. As I said, I will be taking part in Nano again this year, and have my plot map prepared, character plans, joined a Nano group of fellow Wattpad writers, and signed up on the Nano site. I am as ready as I’m going to be as November 1 approaches, and can’t wait for it to begin.
I will be posting weekly updates on my progress, challenges and successes during the month, and would love for you guys to comment and join in with your own Nano occurrings!!!!