It Is That Time of the Year Again—NaNoWriMo 2022
Shortened from National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo is an event that happens every year. During this writing month of November, the goal is for everyone who participates to aim towards writing at least 50,000 words. But, there are rules that you need to adhere to during this writing challenge.
National Novel Writing Month
Before we delve into the rules, let's discuss a bit about how NaNoWriMo came to exist. Chris Baty from the San Francisco area wanted to create a writing community where people could come together and encourage each other to achieve creative goals.
Little did he know that empowering others to participate in writing a novel, would in fact lead to a new, and annual, global phenomenon. This phenomenon has been adopted by universities, teachers, and even novice writers who have always wanted to try out writing!
Okay, now that that is out of the way, in order for you to start writing and complete your first draft as quickly as possible, let's go through the NaNoWriMo rules.
Rule Number One: Timing
The first rule is that all writing needs to happen during the month of NaNoWriMo. You can use whichever writing platform that you are most comfortable with, as long as the words are strung together during the month of November.
Now, this doesn't mean that as a NaNoWriMo writer, you are not allowed to plan your creative writing process prior to the beginning of the month. It just ensures that everyone, even seasoned writers, is allotted the same writing time.
As soon as it hits midnight on the 1st of November... it is go-time! The challenge then officially ends at 11:59 p.m. on the 30th of November. So, we definitely recommend that you have a daily check-in with yourself, especially if word-related corrections need to be made.
Rule Number Two: Content Milestones
Becoming a NaNoWriMo winner is not based on who can write the most words. It is about completing the 50,000 words in the required time period. But, very few people are able to churn out thousands and thousands of words before the challenge is due.
The best way to combat this is to check online for a writing schedule. Alternatively, you could just use any calendar-based app, set some time aside, and put in your daily writing sprints! Each person has different methods of organization, so make sure to use what works best for you.
What many do is divide the number of writing days in the month by the 50,000 words in order to establish a daily word count that needs to be completed. The more rigidly you stick to your daily writing goals, the greater the chances of you winning NaNoWriMo.
This, along with having your first draft done at least one week before the end of the NaNoWriMo project, will act as writing goals that will help you stay accountable to yourself.
Rule Number Three: Communities
One of the main points of this writing month is for NaNoWriMo participants to connect with each other to achieve their writing goals.
Remember, one of the main reasons NaNoWriMo exists is to encourage writers to create a writing group where young writers can get their creative juices flowing. As writers, you are always better together!
There are so many people who aren't writers full time So, looking for a community that is fun, promotes creativity, and acts as a constant source of inspiration, can be difficult.
This is why Facebook groups are created to connect writers together, allowing them to share ideas and links of inspiration to encourage each other to win NaNoWriMo.
Being a part of a writing community during NaNoWriMo is important, especially seeing as finding inspiration can sometimes be a bit difficult further into the NaNoWriMo venture.
Harnessing Your Creative Writing Process
Taking part in this national novel writing month where more than 800,000 other writers are gearing toward creating new worlds, providing inspirational literature, or churning out their own autobiographies, is a different kind of special.
As an annual event, NaNoWriMo has grown to such an extent that it has established its own programs. These include the Young Writers Program as well as Camp NaNoWriMo. But, what is NaNoWriMo and what about it that writers find so valuable?
Nanowrimo Gets You Out of the Planning Stage
We tell ourselves that we are going to start writing a book. But, more often than not, we, blame life for getting in the way. This is one of the main reasons why NaNoWriMo exists.
It utilizes the power of community and goal-setting to get you out of your planning phase, that feeling of writer's block, and makes you feel invigorated and excited to start your new novel.
Creating Your First Draft
One of the best NaNoWriMo tips that we have ever received is to continue writing and start editing later. More often than not, we get so hung up on making our novel seem perfect that we forget to progress with the storyline or plot.
You can always edit how things sound, but NaNoWriMo isn't about how well you can edit. It is about hitting that 50,000 words benchmark and creating a first draft that is nearly complete, just needing a bit of fine-tuning regarding grammar and descriptions of character development.
Never Discount Brainstorming
NaNoWriMo prep is important! It is one of the few ways that you will be able to flesh out the writing process so that you can write content that is meaningful and consists of more than one word.
Brainstorm and plan your month of NaNoWriMo by creating bullet points and expanding on them in terms of context, possible plot progress, and general timelines of their novel.
A Designated Place and Time
We tend to become so busy that if something isn't scheduled, we just replace it with anything that comes up. This is why it is important to set aside time dedicated to writing, as well as do this writing in a place where you feel comfortable.
Stressing about how many words you still need to write is going to interfere with your writing schedule and most likely diminish your daily writing time.
Writers are humans, and we procrastinate more than we would like to admit. This is why looking at the NaNoWriMo website for inspiration, as well as interacting with your writing group remain pivotal parts of the NaNoWriMo experience.
Writing a novel does not mean that you have to stop looking and gaining inspiration from reading the content of other writers. Who knows, the book you pick up might just trigger intrinsic pep talks that will allow you to continue making progress.
Although this national novel writing month is a writing challenge, you still need to enjoy it. If that means reading your favorite novel, then you do what needs to be done.
Being a NaNoWriMo writer is a sprint, not a marathon. You want to finish your 50,000-word novel. But, even if you find that you aren't able to finish just like other writers, you can always join the writing challenge next year.
A Few NaNoWriMo Success Stories
Sara Gruen used NaNoWriMo as the perfect opportunity to create her bestseller, Water for Elephants. She explained that being a part of national novel writing month empowered her and motivated her to complete her novel.
The same sentiments were felt by the author of The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern. She always felt that she never had enough writing time, but when she joined NaNoWriMo, she was able to harness her inner editor, reach her daily word count, and create a revision process that yielded a bestseller.
Wool by Hugh Howey took the use of NaNoWriMo to the extreme! He moved away from the little planning NaNoWriMo writers are encouraged to do, and planned, executed, and edited his entire novel during this writing month.
Why You Need to Participate in NaNoWriMo 2022
NaNoWriMo has enabled many aspiring writers to really create their own novels using a time frame that has been researched to make the goal of 50,000 words achievable.
NaNoWriMo has so many benefits that you can only tap into if you are a part of this national novel writing month!
Discover What You Are Able to Achieve
We never know what we are capable of until we actually do it. Yes, we may need a bit more help by using tracking tools, or an online app that manages our word count goal, but that doesn't mean we are incapable. All it means is that we need a little more help.
What many writers tend to forget is that writing a story from the same place puts you into a mindset that allows you to write from the same point of reference each and every day.
Many of the now-seasoned writers started a NaNoWriMo project because they wanted to challenge themselves. They noted that they were able to write a story from an idea they had, which sparked their desire to become a full-time writer.
Making Actual Writing Progress
There is a preconceived notion that you need to write 50,000 words for a single novel. This is not true. Many people use this challenge as a way to write blog posts in advance, focus on short stories based on fiction, and even create a few tips related to their own businesses that are tailored to their audiences.
Having a set structure that gets you to write consistently is what will set you apart from other writers. In fact, this is one of the tools that participants in the young writers' program are taught.
Your word count isn't everything, but it is necessary if you want to complete your first draft. Writing a new novel will also show your ability to express an idea in a written form.
Building a Writing Habit
Should you have your own nonprofit organization and you are struggling to generate content. Participating in NaNoWriMo will enable you to establish a content-creating habit that is more than listing a few bullet points.
But, what constitutes a writing habit? It is being able to write segments of your novel regularly. This ensures that you are not distracted by other events in your life, as well as ensures that you stay accountable to yourself, your ideas, and your own writing goals.
Networking With Other Writers
Being a writer can be a very lonely profession, especially if your friends don't appreciate the art of writing as much as you do. Well, NaNoWriMo allows you to engage with like-minded individuals without any need for you to go outside. Yes, introverts for the win!
Many writers usually discount the impact that their fellow writers can have on the ability to effectively complete their novels. Stuck at a specific part of your story? Reach out to the other NaNoWriMo participants for an idea or two to really boost your imagination.
Creating goals is not just for your next business venture. You can use SMART goals for national novel writing month too!
What these goals refer to is an acronym that helps you structure your NaNoWriMo prep so that your writing remains in line with your end goals.
This acronym stands for:
Specific: You want your goal to be simple and to the point.
Measurable: How are you going to quantify the success of your goal? At this point, you need to list down which metrics, whether quantitative or qualitative, you are going to use to define whether you have achieved your goal or not.
Achievable: Given the number of resources that you have currently, is this goal within your current means? You need to be honest with yourself at this step!
Realistic: Given the amount of time and commitments that you currently have, is this a goal that can actually be met?
Time-sensitive: Give yourself a time period in which to achieve this goal. It doesn’t have to be short as in a few days. A better approach, especially given the NaNoWriMo rules, would be to make multiple short goals that span a few days.
Using SMART goals is not only fun, but as a writer, it provides a structure that is needed.
Improve Your Storytelling Craft
Practice makes perfect, right? Right! This is no different when writing. Whether it be fiction, a blog, or just bringing a random idea to life, NaNoWriMo is the best way to improve your writing skills.
As you write, make use of some of the NaNoWriMo tips that are presented in this article. You will find that your ability to stick to your established timelines for this national novel writing month will be easier to adhere to.
Why? Because you have become comfortable with your ability to write a story.
However, as you continue to interact with members of the NaNoWriMo community, you will learn words you have never heard before. But that is what the experience is about: growing in your craft and ability as a writer!
You will find that the more active you are across NaNoWriMo, as well as other writing sprint events, the more frequently you will be creating draft novels, as well as learning a few tips and tricks of the trade that may have caused other writers to stumble.
NaNoWriMo participants are not only those who have studied English literature at the university level. Yes, some participants would have, but there are those who are writing without having studied at all!
A prime example is Jordan, a student at the University of Cape Town, who studied music but has a passion for writing. It is this passion that made him want to challenge his ability to write the 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo. This is how writers are born! They accept the challenge!
A Few NaNoWriMo Tips
With the number of times NaNoWriMo has run, those that write religiously during this event have come together to create a few tips for those who are new to this journey.
Develop and Know Your Own Writing Process
Different novels require different approaches. However, many have said that the Snowflake Method is one of the best ways to bring ideas to life. It is a method that has been proven to work with novel writing, blog posts, and even poems!
How it works is that you write a sentence, expand on it until it is a paragraph, and move forward until you have written a one-page summary. This is exactly how you can turn an outline into a first draft that uses an array of different writing techniques and fun descriptions.
Plan for the Upcoming Holidays
Because NaNoWriMo is a worldwide event, writing every day may not be practical for participants in different countries. For example, those who write from the United States may need to factor in potential travel and spending time with family during Thanksgiving.
How many NaNoWriMo participants have combatted this little detail by removing all the days they won't be able to write from their calculations, and adding words to the days that they can. This is the perfect way to ensure that you do not fall behind schedule.
Identify Your Ideal Environment
Writers are digital nomads and have the ability and privilege of being able to write anywhere. As long as you have your laptop handy, making progress can be done absolutely anywhere.
But what NaNoWriMo veterans have discovered is that sitting in the same place and writing at the same time daily boosts your productivity and will bring you a few steps closer to your first draft.
Some writers prefer to write in the hustle and bustle of a coffee shop. Others prefer the silence of their own rooms. Writing a novel isn't dependent on where you write, but on where the amount of written work you get done is maximized.
Writing With Friends
Depending on the interests that you and your friends have, why not challenge the group to write a few thousand words for this year's NaNoWriMo?
You don't have to finish the entire challenge, but starting to draft a new novel may be the first step in using next year's NaNoWriMo to create your bestseller.
With the development of technology, these don't even have to be in-person meetups. Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meets are some of the leading ways to connect with others while working remotely.
You never have to be alone when you write. There are even online study rooms where you can just be present without needing to engage with anyone. You should do whatever sparks a spike in your productivity levels.
Creating Checkpoint Rewards
Some writers can sit down and hash out their draft in a single sitting of a few hours. Others may need to be enticed to finish specific parts of their writing plan.
For example, many writers don't like editing. So, they need a bit of an incentive to get the editing work done. You cannot have a complete story without putting some time and effort into editing your work. This is even truer for fiction, non-fiction, and blog-based written pieces.
You want to make this challenge as fun as possible. Reward yourself with a fancy dinner when you reach the halfway point. Or, treat yourself to a new novel as a reward for working on your own! As a writer, you need to be able to make the process of writing your story an interesting and rewarding one.
On a Roll? Keep Going!
This is probably one of the most important NaNoWriMo tips that you are going to see! You are going to have great days of writing, and other days when you will struggle to string a sentence together.
With that being said, don't stop after you have already written the required number of words for the day. If you feel you can write more, keep going! Not only is this good for morale, but it will make up for days when writing your novel doesn't seem like something you can do.
NaNoWriMo Prep 101
The NaNoWriMo website is filled with information that will make the process of novel writing that much easier. They even have an official event calendar!
As a nonprofit organization, NaNoWriMo has really tapped into the humanness of writing and created a community that is by writers for writers.
They have even introduced NaNo Coaches who will be able to help you with constructing your story, explaining parts of your novel without using too many words, and ultimately understanding what it means to be a writer during NaNoWriMo!
Their website comes with some unique NaNoWriMo tips, as well as workshops and videos that will encourage you to write, even when you feel you don't have the right words to progress your story.
We all know that a well-written story has believable characters. With their NaNo prep section, they have provided writing tips that have the potential to help you in difficult areas that many writers struggle with when finalizing their stories.
The content on the NaNoWriMo website even provides some resources for educators who want to challenge their students to write a novel or short story during the month of November.
NaNoWriMo has become an annual event that writers across the world look forward to. You are not competing with others to see who can write the most words; you are supporting each other to write content that brings everyone one step closer to their writing goals.
We highly recommend that you use the NaNoWriMo tips mentioned in this article as a way to bring your next novel to fruition. Remember, a story is only as good as the amount of effort that has been put into it.
Being a part of the NaNoWriMo community is never a mistake. You will find down-to-earth individuals who enjoy creating new stories and sharing them with others.
Who knows, the next story that you share with the NaNoWriMo community may just spark lifelong friendships that you never thought were possible. This is the essence of NaNoWriMo, creating a community for writers to progress forward together!