It’s NaNoWriMo time again, National Novel Writing Month. Get out your spreadsheet word trackers and timers and dust them off. The fun begins at midnight October 31 as you plow through toward your 50,000 words or 50 hour goal of writing every day for thirty days.
For Writers in the Grove, here are our rules for November’s NaNoWriMo writing event.
- Write daily from November 1-30 by either committing to write:
- 50,000 words (1,667 a day)
- Or one hour a day minimum.
You may write however, whenever, whatever you wish. Here are some tips to help you get started.
- You do not have to write a “book,” whatever “book” means to you.
- You may write short stories, world building material, character sketches, technical guides, whatever you wish, though working on fiction is the goal of NaNoWriMo, as long as you commit to write toward your end month goal, writing is writing.
- Pantsers write by the seat of their pants. Plotters write from an outline or plot. Plotsers or Plantsers write a little of both, found to be the most common technique for NaNoWriMo.
- This isn’t a word game, though it is played like one. It is a head game. Get your head in the writing game and keep writing. If something jumps in your path, either kick it to the curb or confront and deal, but don’t let it stop you writing.
- You can write anywhere and at any time. If you like writing in a social space, there are a wide range of NaNoWriMo events held around the world, including in Washington and Multnomah Counties of Oregon. There are meetups, write-ins, lock-ins, and a variety of social events to help you write better, longer, and faster, all adding up to the word count or hour tracking goals. If you like writing in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning or before you go to bed in the quiet of your home or office, write then. Are you a commuter? Write while you commute using voice recognition, a tablet, or phone, but only voice while driving, and do so with care.
- Want to participate but don’t have anything to write about? Writers in the Grove will be releasing a NaNoWriMo prompt of the day during November. We have some great NaNoWriMo prompts from previous years, and years of weekly prompts from our creative writing group meetings for you to find something to get you writing.
Want to join us? Here is how to participate, and each step, other than the writing, is optional.
- Commit to one hour a day or 50,000 words a day. Pick one.
- Go to NaNoWriMo. Registration is free. Create a profile, announce your project (make it up if you don’t have one), and read the instructions on how to proceed starting November 1.
- Set up your writing environment, be it on your computer, tablet, phone, or a location in your home or office.
- Set up your writing experience. It could be Scrivener (we have a list of great NaNoWriMo project templates and are introducing our own), Word, Pages, a text editor, voice recognition software, whatever you write in. Clean off the keyboard, your mouse, computer monitor screen, your desk, your office, your space. Remove all distractions and leave only inspiration in your writing space.
- Prepare by creating or working on your outline, collecting prompts, bookmarking creative writing prompt sites (like Writers in the Grove), and/or collecting all the material you need for inspiration.
- Check out our NaNoWriMo Survival Guide with tips, techniques, lists, inspiration, techniques, prompts, Scrivener project templates, and word tracker spreadsheets.
- Explore the various Scrivener project templates for NaNoWriMo, including our new one. Select one and set it up with notes, outline, research, and whatever material you nee to keep writing.
- Select a word tracker spreadsheet from our list of NaNoWriMo word trackers and spreadsheets. We have a new Writers in the Grove word and hour tracker spreadsheet, and a list of other word trackers.
- Set your ground rules. Most participants are successful when they set the following ground rules during November:
- Write only. No editing. None. Zilch. Not even a spell check. N.O. E.D.I.T.I.N.G. PERIOD.
- No research or a 2-5 minute limit on research per day. Trust yourself. It’s all in your head. Pull it out. Put it down.
- Keep daily appointments with yourself to write. Block out the times on your calendar and keep them, like a doctor or dentist appointment. Show up even if you don’t want to.
- Learn how to turn off your phone and internet, and keep it off during your writing appointment time. Seriously.
- Tell friends, family, and pets that you are not to be disturbed unless guts or bones are exposed to the air. This is an excellent time to teach your family and friends how to live without you for an hour or two a day. If you have to, lock them up before you start. The pets.
- Create a backup plan. What are you going to write if your brain locks up on what you are writing? Make a list of world building, character sketches, place sketches, experience sketches, subplots, stories within stories, background information, historical timelines, and other material to help you write the stories that aren’t in your story that help define your story. Include a backup list of prompts and completely off topic subjects to write about to help you step away mentally from your story for a breather, then dive right back in again.
- Find loyal supporters and ass-kickers. We have some great ass-kickers in our Writers in the Grove group, but you need your own if you aren’t a member of a writing group. Tap into your friends, close and long distance, and ask them for a weekly nag or check-in to help you keep going. Find a local or genre group on the NaNoWriMo groups list and introduce yourself.
- Learn how to add your daily word count to NaNoWriMo. You add the update of your total word count for the month so far, not your daily word count, to the NaNoWriMo word count total.
- Learn how to verify your final word count to help you complete your goal of 50,000 words in 30 days. Achieve your goal on the NaNoWriMo site and win some great prizes and discounts.
Before you get too overwhelmed, we’ve created a NaNoWriMo Guide featuring all the tutorials, tips, techniques, and prompts we’ve published here on participating in NaNoWriMo. Enjoy.