Thursday, November 1, 2012

Are You NaNoWriMo-ing? Benefits of and Tips for Surviving National Novel Writing Month

NaNoWriMo.org 
Cover Story:

Today National Novel Writing Month begins! Are you NaNoWriMo-ing? If you haven't signed up yet, hop on over to NaNoWriMo.org and sign up. It's free!

You're probably familiar, but if not NaNoWriMo is a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in the 30 days of November. You'll be in good company. A lot of us are doing it, so check it out.

I've done NaNo for several years and I've learned a thing or two. Here are eight benefits you'll receive if you take part as well as some tips for surviving National Novel Writing Month:

8 Benefits for Participating in NaNoWriMo:

  1. Become a faster writer. NaNoWriMo taught me to write more quickly and I’m far more prolific.
  2. Learn what you need to do to get more done. After a family emergency put me behind like a spin-out on the racetrack, I had to really zoom to catch up. I set my alarm for 4:45 am and was in my office—coffee in hand—by 5:00. I wrote 7,000 words a day and made the word-count by November 30th.
  3. Learn what you need to successfully complete a writing project. I found I need a solid storyline, not just an interesting character or a vague idea.
  4. Accelerate your fiction-writing learning curve. No more moseying through learning fiction at a leisurely Sunday drive-pace. I sped through the learning curve at something closer to the pace of NASCAR (but far more reckless).
  5. Practice, practice, practice. I’ve written a couple really bad NaNo novels, but doing so taught me so much I don’t count them as wasted time at all.
  6. Make huge progress on one project—fast! It doesn’t have to take a year to write a book. That’s incredibly encouraging to me because I now can envision a shorter, but workable, time frame to produce that long list of books I’d like to write.
  7. Be propelled forward on your fiction-writing dream. I’ve been writing nonfiction articles for twenty plus years. But I always want to write long fiction. Finally, I’m making progress toward that dream.
  8. Become more attractive to an agent or publisher. I hope completing manuscripts quickly and therefore having more on hand to circulate might expedite my journey to book-length fiction publication.
7 Tips for Surviving NaNoWriMo:

Dry eyes. Wearing writers. Adding 50,000 words on top of an already crazy schedule. Taking the plunge into National Novel Writing Month sounds daunting, and it can be. But if you'd like to give it a go, there are some ways to save your dry eyes and your sanity. Here are seven tips for surviving NaNoWriMo:
  1. Having a story line in mind before November 1 is helpful but not necessary. Grab an idea and go with it.
  2. Use Dragon Naturally Speaking or other voice-recognition software. Speaking and watching words appear on screen saves my dry eyes.
  3. Use your AlphaSmart or tablet computer while riding in the car or during down times when away from home. Or use paper and pen and hire a teenager to type it into your manuscript at the appropriate place later—but before the official word-count deadline on November 30th.
  4. Make notes in your text where you need to research or fix a plot problem or insert that great new idea you had...for the chapters ago. Don't stop to figure out a problem or do research. Simply write yourself a note right in your text. Putting notes in [brackets] makes them easy to find later using the search function.
  5. Make decisions quickly—like choosing names. You can always change it later.
  6. When you hit a snag in your story, type in, “What happens next?” Then write the answer. Still stuck? Type the question again and answer it again. Repeat until you’re rolling again.
  7. If NaNoWriMo causes too much havoc in your life and you absolutely can’t make it, let it go. If you’ve written anything, you’ve made progress. And the worst that might befall you would be NaNoWriMo’s infamous guilt monkey invading your sleep or the lost dream of posting the NaNoWriMo “winner” icon on your web site. But hey, you’re a writer. You’ve faced worse rejection.
My number one rule for winning ("winning" = making the 50,000 word county by midnight November 30th) NaNoWriMo is:

Never erase. Once you type a word, it stays!
You'll edit later.

As much as I’d like to, I couldn’t keep the NaNoWriMo schedule every month. I have to let too much other stuff (writing projects, cooking dinner, showers) go. But once a year? I’ve been there, done that, bought the t-shirt before. And I'm definitely doing it again this year. That's because this year I have extra incentive:

I just signed a three-book contract with Pix-N-Pens Publishing for a series of novels! This will be my first book-length fiction. I'm both excited and scared. Even though I've signed a contract, I haven't written any of the books yet. (Yikes!) So I'll be writing book one of the series this month for NaNoWriMo!

My New Fiction Series!

The name of my new fiction series is called: 

"Springs Eternal"

The three novels will be:

Hope's Diner
(releasing Spring 2013)

The Search for Hope
(releasing Summer 2013)

Finding Hope 
(releasing Fall 2013)

This month, during National Novel Writing Month, I'll be writing hard on Hope's Diner.

Here's what I have so far:

            It’s Mellissa Campbell’s last day in town and she has a special gift to deliver. She parks her Harley and steps inside Hope’s Diner. But Hope, the owner who has run the diner for decades, is gone. And nobody knows what happened to her.
            Everyone in the town of Springs Eternal knows if you’re discouraged, you go to Hope’s Diner. Hope always knows how to give you, well, hope.
            Now the town is suddenly without Hope. Springs Eternal is already dying. The seed packaging factory is closing—today. A drought has dried up the spring the town was named for—for only the second time in history. Hope always seemed to know what to do to keep hope—and the town—alive. What will happen to the town? What will happen to the townspeople? And most importantly, what has happened to Hope? Will they be able to find her? Will she come home? What will they do without Hope?


More News! I have a New Nonfiction Series!

The name of my new nonfiction series is the "Prophecies Fulfilled" series with the first book in the 3-book series releasing this month, just in time for the Christmas season. It's titled Prophecies Fulfilled in the Birth of Jesus. Would you like to see the book's cover? Please click on the "Coming Books!" tab at the top of this page for all the news about my newest book. I hope to have ordering information soon, including a pre-publication opportunity. I'll post it just as soon as I have the information, so please stop back by during this month. Thanks!

So that's where I'm at right now. What are you up to? Leave me a comment.

Also leave a comment letting us know how your NaNoWriMo is going.

I hope to see you zooming along with me on your word-count during November. May you make great progress on your writing project this month and may you avoid the NaNoWriMo guilt monkeys!

1 comment:

  1. Great tips. Nano is always fun even though I never finish. Thanksgiving gets me off track.

    Congrats on your 3-book contract!

    ReplyDelete