Happy October! Fall is here, and that means one thing for me: NaNoWriMo season.
What is NaNoWriMo? It stands for National Novel Writing Month. It’s a yearly event in November where writers all around the world set out to write a 50,000-word novel in thirty days. Insane, right?
It sounds crazy, and it is, but it’s very doable! You just need to have the right tools at your fingertips.
5 Types of NaNoWriMo Participants
Not all writers are the same. Each of us approaches writing differently.
Luckily, there are lots of tools at your fingertips to help you reach your goal. Here are five different types of NaNo-ers and the tools they might use.
1. The Solitary NaNo-er
Tool to use: Worksheets.
Right around this time of year, my dad comes home from work with two binders of worksheets, one for my brother and one for me. It’s like Christmas every time. I love to blaze through those pages and pencil in the ideas I have for my plot and characters.
A simple Google search for “NaNoWriMo worksheets” will send you down the rabbit hole of inspiration. For the solitary NaNo-er, this is the perfect activity to do while curled up in bed, maybe with a fuzzy animal at your side. It’ll keep you busy for hours.
2. The Social NaNo-er
Tool to use: Write-ins.
Depending on what NaNoWriMo region you’re in, MLs (Municipal Liaisons) will help to set up write-ins in your area. Usually these events are scheduled for a couple to a few hours at a local coffee shop. It’s the perfect opportunity to meet fellow NaNo-ers and swap ideas. It’s a good mix of chatter about how much progress you’ve made as well as quiet time to write. Something about being around that many creative minds can be extremely inspiring.
If there aren’t any write-ins set up in your area, or maybe you just can’t make it to any, you can set up a virtual one! Skype in a few friends who are participating or log into a chat room. The Internet will provide solutions if you poke at it enough.
3. The Competitive NaNo-er
Tool to use: Word Wars.
This is one of my favorite activities of the month. The basic idea of a Word War is to race against the clock and see how many words you can write in that time. Sometimes you’ll go for five minutes, other times an hour. You can play against yourself to beat your previous records or compete with friends!
NaNoWriMo even has a Twitter account called @NaNoWordSprints set up for this very idea. You can almost always join a sprint that’s going on whenever you check their account.
4. The Procrastinating NaNo-er
Tool to use: Word count calendar.
It’s hard to go into a daunting challenge such as this one without any kind of plan in place. To write 50,000 words in thirty days, you have to write 1,667 words a day to stay on track. For the procrastinating NaNo-er, that can be difficult.
There are various calendars available to you through Google searches you can download and print to keep you focused. I like to tape my calendar up near my computer and put a smiley face sticker on each day I reach my goal. It’s very rewarding.
5. The First Time NaNo-er
Tool to use: Forums.
NaNoWriMo can be scary, especially for someone who’s never participated before! I was a little nervous at first, but once I started talking to people who had done it in past years, I was totally reassured. The forums can be a great place to meet people and get ideas on how to stay on track throughout the month. I met one of my best blogging friends because of the Young Writers Program forums.
Even if you aren’t a NaNo newbie, it’s still a wonderful place to hang out when you need a break from your novel. Go see what (or who) you can find!
Use the Tools You Need
You might be a mix of several of these types, too, in which case, fantastic! I know I am (mostly a mix of the social and competitive NaNo-ers). Ultimately, you should be using whatever tools you find most helpful. With all these tricks up your sleeve, it’ll be easy to reach your goal.
What kind of NaNo-er are you? What tools help you hit 50,000 words in thirty days? Let me know in the comments!
What are you writing for NaNoWriMo this year? If you don’t have it planned yet, take fifteen minutes to get those wheels turning and jot down a few ideas. If you already have an idea in mind, use that time to expand on it and maybe create a plot outline or a new character.
When you're done, share your work in the comments. Don’t forget to give your fellow writers some love, too! Have fun!