You might have missed the kick-off to NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, which takes place at the beginning of November every year. For the uninitiared, NaNoWRiMo is an organisation that helps aspring writers write their novel in just 30 days. And we know you’re sniggering – ‘Who can write a novel in 30 days?’ you’re probably wondering. Well, the answer is thousands of people; they undertake the challenge each year and 2016 was no different. In fact, 766 budding Indian novelists averaged a word count of 17,358 per writer.
But even if you’ve missed this year’s deadline, here’s inspiration to get through the challenge of writing your novel..
This first tip is rather straightforward. If you want to write a novel, you have to start somewhere. You can join NaNoWriMo and access their incredible community to get first-hand tips from seasoned writers as well as your contemporaries who are writing their book, too. Take inspiration from them and jump in headlong. As soon you start putting words to the page, your dream novel will begin to take shape.
Time It Right
Let’s do some math here. Most bestsellers average out at 50,000 words. That’s 1,500 words per day over 30 days, give or take a few. Also 1,500 words comes to three pages on editing software such as MS Word. Now all you need to do is time yourself so that you’re able to write three pages per day and voila! Your novel will be ready in a month!
Gather Your Thoughts
Some writers can tap into their inner thoughts and just start writing. The rest of us, however, have to be ready to start when we begin writing. Keep your thoughts and storyline in place before you put words to the page. The NaNoWriMo Mind Map is what you need to collect all the essential information about your book. Learn more about it here. This will help you beat writer’s block and stay focused on the task at hand.
Announce It Everywhere
Accountability is a great motivating factor. If you’re serious about your book, then simply make a commitment about finishing it on your social media profiles. Tell your friends and followers what you’re doing and why. Ask them to keep you motivated and share their opinions. Once that’s done, you’ll see how difficult it is to back out when people keep asking about your novel’s progress.
Commit to It
This applies to everything in life, including writing. Every new thing seems scary at first, but if you commit to it, then half your struggle will have ended already. Often, we have blocks in our mind that prevent us from taking any real action towards achieving our goals. Instead, simply commit to yourself, and a programme like NaNoWriMo, to keep your writing schedule on track.
Enjoy the Struggle
Forming a habit typically takes 21 days, so a month is a long stretch to commit to when it comes to your book. Be prepared for the days when you will feel lazy or are not be in the mood to write. At times like these, you must treat your writing as a job and show up every day – even on your days off. Unless you take your book seriously you won’t get anywhere with it.
If you’re thinking you can’t eke out time from your busy schedule now, but plan to do it at a later stage, then we have some bad news for you. That book will never get written. Postponing what you really want to do is not a trade-off you should ever settle for. Stop socialising after work, don’t watch TV at night and ban mindless internet browsing for the next few days. You’ll automatically find time to write your book.
Your favourite authors did not start out being bestseller writers right from the get-go. Everybody knows how much JK Rowling struggled before the Harry Potter books found a publisher. Get inspired by authors’ real-life stories and banish all the self-doubt you ever had. Instead, imagine what it would feel like when your novel hits bookstores and gets written about in the media. Stay inspired and keep writing!
Not everything related to writing has to do with preparing your mind and body. Sometimes, you need intellectual stimulation too. When you get tired of writing, pick up a book that excites you and spend some time reading it. Once you feel invigorated enough, get back to your desk and go on writing. Use your reading time to take meaningful and creative breaks from your writing schedule.
Never Stop Dreaming
Finally, give yourself the chance to live your dream. Everybody has a story that is waiting to come out. Many books are stillborn because many would-be writers stop dreaming and taking chances on their books. Don’t be one of them. Give yourself the opportunity to write and get your book out in the open. Stop worrying about how it will be received by people or if you’ll find a publisher – those are problems that are out of your hands. What you need now is the time and imagination to write your bestseller.
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