How to be a #NaNoWriMo Rebel

4:20 pm HelenLJohnson 0 Comments

I think it is time for a confession, and I am probably not alone in this. I love creating stories, however most of them end up being the bath time/train ride/lying in bed kind where it is fascinating to escape into these worlds, but are never wrote out. I think the main reason is because I am scared that once they are fleshed out, they can never match what I had pictured in my mind. Admittedly, I am a dreamer, and can sit and think for hours.

This is where NaNoWriMo comes in. Although it sounds like the titular pet from a Shōjo manga, National November Writing Month has one aim. To get you to write that novel you have been talking about for years. By the end of the month you should have 50,000 words; it forces you to consider deadlines and timekeeping. Something I am sure we are all guilty of, especially with our busy lives. Remember to be a NaNoWriMo rebel though, not everything needs to wrote by the book (excuse the pun), as long as you are writing:

1. Use NaNoWriMo as inspiration, not a law.
Treat November as your writing month. You can tune in to the buzz of people around you who are writing and that may inspire you to keep going. However no-one is going to tell you off because you are writing a script or a non fiction book. Think outside the box and complete anything in the month of November, for example:

- Aim for a blog post every two days.
- Code a game that is playable by 1st December.
- Write fan fiction story (30,000 words).
- Create and write a new craft tutorial every week.
- Write an extended essay on a topic you enjoy (20,000 words).
- Write two novellas based around one character.

2. Quality is always better than quantity.
 The problem with projects that use gamification as a way for contributors to move forward is that sometimes it can be quite black or white. You either fail or you win. If you don’t quite finish, don’t be disheartened. Remember this isn’t your job (yet!) but you should remember that your project doesn’t finish in November even if you hit 50,000 words. November is your spew month, you get the words out there. Use the rest of winter as an excuse to stay indoors and tailor what you have or continue with November used as your spring board.

3. Everything doesn’t have to be new.
If you have something half finished, use that as your November writing project! On a similar vein, if you feel truly stuck halfway through November, put what you are writing to one side and do something else. This is where blogs come in very handy. You can take a break but still write, which is the most crucial thing. Often, this will clear the mind fog and you can get back to your masterpiece :).

4. Keep on the hashtags and lists.
As with capturing the buzz of the NaNoWriMo community, be aware of common hashtags and get involved in Twitter chats. Even as just an observer, make Twitter lists of people who are writing so if your project is getting you down, there is something a click away to hopefully make you feel a little less lonely.

5. Write what you like.
Don’t be discouraged by forums full of people writing their fantasy stories or hard hitting crime novels. If you want to write erotica, a children's book or an easy to read chick lit for example; you do that. There is a niche for everything, no matter how small it may be, and you might just make someone’s day by writing about it.

6. Don’t rush to publish.
This is mainly for fan fiction writers or bloggers and is something I am guilty of. Completing a chapter or post, editing then publishing in the same night. Please don’t do that! I know it is so tempting to get it out there to feel that sense of completeness, but very often there will be silly mistakes or you end up trapping yourself because the story changes halfway through writing and the start does not make sense for where you are now. Complete your story, edit it, reflect, then release in chapters maybe every week.

For self publishing, don’t rush it out for the same reasons as suggested above. You don’t want people to be put off your story by terrible grammar and spelling. In addition, many people will self publish in December after NaNoWriMo, instead provide yourself with some reflection time and if you are still happy with your work, try in March or April. Remember though, the aim is just to write, you do not need to publish anything if you don't want to.

Are you writing in November? Let me know via Twitter and we can cry together over cups of tea! When I decide what it is that I am doing!

Further reading: '25 Things You Should Know About NaNoWriMo'