NaNoWriMo: Yes or No?

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Fall is here, bringing with it cooler temperatures, pumpkin spice everything, and most importantly, NaNoWriMo.

For those of you who aren’t nearly as nerdy as me, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and takes place every November. Participants pledge to write an entire novel in just one month, and yes, it is as crazy as it sounds. Each novel has to be at least 50,000 words, which averages out to be about 1,666 words per day. NaNoWriMo is a huge commitment, but it serves as a great push to get you closer to your creative writing goals.

With November just around the corner, now is the time when NaNoWriMo prep is in full force. People are more excited now than ever to give up a month to writing, and the tension will only grow as October comes and goes.

Do you have a great idea for a novel and feeling up to the challenge? Consider these few things before starting:

Do You Have the Time?
Writing 1,666 words per day may seem easy at first, but just wait until it’s November 5th and you’re already several hundred words behind simply due to your busy schedule. Before signing up, evaluate what your time commitments really look like for the month. Make a realistic plan as to when you will write each day, and have a strategy in place (like writing more on weekends) in case you do happen to fall behind – and chances are, you will.

Do You Have a Plan?
It is enticing to dive into November with a blank slate and say you will make it up as you go, but this almost never works. The best way to stay on track and not hit any dead ends that just lead to failure is to have a clear outline of what you want your novel to be about. Take the month of October to really dig into character analysis, plot, and research. You can always change direction as your novel grows, but a solid outline to start with will give your novel the foundation that it needs to get off of the ground.

Do You Really Want to?
NaNoWriMo is no joke, and is not for the faint of heart. If you don’t go into November giving your novel your absolute all, there’s a good likelihood you will run out of steam around week two and give up. NaNoWriMo means a month focused entirely around writing, and if that doesn’t excite you, then this challenge might not be the right choice. However, if you are passionate about your novel idea and are looking forward to late night edits, there is nothing more satisfying than reaching November 30th and 50,000 words.

For a look into the day to day life of a NaNoWriMo author, check out Kristina Horner’s vlog encompassing all of the 2013 challenge.

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