Creative Writing

What You Need to Know About Participating in NaNoWriMo for the First Time!

Camp NaNoWriMo Tips for Beginners

NaNoWriMo takes place in November but Camp NaNoWriMo takes place in April and July every year.

What is NaNoWriMo?

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It is essentially a community of writers that set goals during those three months of the years to get farther in their author journey.

Are you planning on participating? Do you have any concerns?

Well I can help. I participated in NaNoWriMo 2018 in November and I am proud to say that I reached 50,000 words. Struggling to write consistently has been one of my biggest problems and I was so proud of myself to say that I conquered it!

Now, those 30 days were hard! A lot harder than I thought they would be but I overcame some obstacles and I achieved my monthly goal. It is so doable you just need to plan ahead.

If you were thinking of taking part in NaNoWriMo but didn’t know what to expect or maybe you did and your word count fell short. Here are some tips to help you prepare for Camp Nano whether you plan to participate in April, July and/or November.

Prepare for 30 Days

Camp NaNoWriMo Tips for Beginners

The game plan that I opted for was to have 30 plot points to refer too if I ever got stuck. Now, I know there are a lot of Preptober workbooks out there, but I wasn’t ready to spend money on that until I knew if I could do NaNoWriMo with my own tools.

Guess what! I did it and learned a quite a few things along the way!

Preparing for the month of writing is good because there will be days when you do not want to write. You might not have the time to write either. But that is okay because if you have enough points to refer too you can always write something down.

Also, if you are writing a brand-new novel idea that you just came up with these next couple weeks are crucial to help you prepare in order to succeed.

Scheduling Time to Write

Figure out what time of day you can write. Click here for tips on creating a writing schedule no matter what your lifestyle is!

This is basically mapping out your month and scheduling in times to write. If you have three different events and a birthday party to plan, this month might not be for you or you need prepare ahead of time.

Knowing what days you won’t be able to write will help you bank words in the beginning so you can stay on top of your word count. Set phone alarms, get a writing buddy or just discipline yourself to sit down to write at the times that you have schedule. Believe me, it is so worth it!

We all have busy lives and writing can be hard at times but that’s why we plan ahead.

Daily Word Count

Since NaNoWriMo’s goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days, your daily word count is 1667 per day. Writing almost 1700 words is a lot. Especially if you are just beginning writing or your novel idea is very green it will be difficult but not impossible!

Personally, I have been working with my storyline for FAR TO LONG! Like 10 years too long. I just never took the time to sit and write words down on paper. Finally, I can say that I am half way done my first draft.

But when I started out, writing 300 words was a challenge. So take the time to see how fast you write and how many words you can get in within an hour. This way you can schedule accordingly.

If it takes you an hour to write 800 words, then you will need at least 2 hours a day to hit the daily word count.

Be Creative

Camp NaNoWriMo Tips

Outlines are good to keep you on track but don’t let them derail you. If you are stuck on a section, move past it and continue on with your characters journey. This way your creative juices are still flowing, and you are progressing – not only your word count but your storyline too!

I always wrote in chronological order and if a really trick scene came up or I couldn’t figure out the setting I would stop. I would put my WIP away and let it sit but NaNoWriMo taught me to jump past those points because I still needed to hit my word count.  

NaNoWriMo is a time where you can buckle down and get some words on the page but it is also a time where you create.

I came up with so many new ideas that I would not have thought in my regular day to day life. The consistency of writing every day and writing a lot (1667 words is solid chunk of page) I was able to work through plot points I was struggling with. Also, new ideas came to light with where I can take my storyline because you are spending so much time with your characters every day.

Have FUN with NaNoWriMo!

This is the most important part of the NaNoWriMo journey! We are all in this community to help encourage and inspire each other to write our stories and to be heard. If you write a thousand words or ten thousand words do not feel discouraged because you are thousand/ten thousand words ahead of where you started.

Also, if you fall behind or I should send WHEN you fall behind because you probably will. Writing every day is a challenge. Do not get discouraged! You can always make up time by shuffling your schedule around. Try your best to hit your target and go from there. Some days I wrote 300 words, other days I hit 2100. Sometimes the creative flow just came to me and other days it was a struggle. But the fact still remains, make sure that you are enjoying yourself!

Any amount of words on the page is better than no words. Plus, when you sit down at your desk or creative space (Click here to find out why this is important) you should feel excited and antsy to get those keys clicking.

I am so proud to be a part of this NaNoWriMo community and I hope you all take a chance with it too. You can do this and get your very own completion certificate!

NaNoWriMo Certificate

Happy Writing!

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