This year I’ve decided to participate in NaNoWriMo! I thought about signing up last year and the year before but I ended up not doing it because of self-doubt and work commitments. And when I say “work commitments”, I’m actually just scrambling for another excuse for why I was a chicken and didn’t push myself.
This year will be different, however, because I’ve gotten back into actually enjoying writing, so I have faith in myself this time. I think that’s an important component of going for a challenge like this; nobody wants to fail, and if you go into it expecting yourself to do badly then chances are you will.
If any of you are following my M.A.D. writing project, you’ll know I’ve already started writing my debut novel. As it’s going well, I thought taking a month off to focus on a totally different story would give me some breathing space from my novel, and may actually result in some inspiration and sub-plot ideas by the end of it.
I think it’s important to take a bit of a step back sometimes, especially if you feel yourself stagnating, which so often happens near the middle of a story. I hope that my experience with NaNoWriMo will give me a new lease of life!
As well as that, from what I’ve heard from people who have participated in the challenge before, it’s best not to continue working on something you already started. A clean slate is best! Lucky for me, I’ve had an idea rattling about in my mind for a few months so this will be a good chance for me to experiment with it.
I’ve started planning a month ahead, which many NaNoWriMo participants say is an important thing to do unless you want to just wing it. Winging it works sometimes, but when you’re facing a challenge that requires you to write an entire book in a month (and hopefully a coherent one), winging it probably won’t cut it and could result in a great deal of stress.
I’ve almost finished plotting out my story, I just need to tie up a few loose ends, and then I’m going to focus on drawing up character sheets. Being this organised is a new approach for me, but it’ll be interesting to see how much better I do because of it.
I bought the Ready, Set, Novel!: A Workbook two years ago but never got around to filling it in so this is a great opportunity to take a proper look at it, and hopefully it will be useful in terms of plot and characterisation. I imagine it’ll be very useful for reigning in my ideas, which are so often scattered and hard to piece together with other elements of the story.
If you’re also starting the NaNoWriMo journey, I’d suggest getting a notebook and starting your prep now. You’ll thank yourself when you’re halfway through November in the middle of your novel with no end in sight!