NaNoWriMo is a non-profit organization where you get full support, all sorts of tools and discounts, find like-minded people etc. If you ever considered writing a book, this is your time to shine!
I am taking a slightly different approach to this challenge. I only decided to take a part in it two days ago, and originally, I didn’t want to participate at all because I felt quite intimidated by writing a 50,000 words novel which is not exactly my repertoire. But then I thought, “Wait a minute, you don’t have to write a novel just because it says it’s a novel writing month.” And that was it! This very thought unlocked my mind and made me feel so very relaxed, I put my name down without hesitation.
I plan to start writing a book next year and want to finish it before I turn 30 – it’s one of my major goals and achieving this has a significant meaning to my life. Because of this, I took the challenge and turned it into something much more important to me –habit building!
Writing a book is a product of your daily habits and discipline. It’s important to maintain and develop your skills, and not just in writing, to make a progress and achieve your desired results. That’s why we use our trackers! Those are the guides that keep us moving. We cannot be fooled by our own mind because our habits are recorded on a piece of paper so we can clearly see if we keep up!
So, what to write if not a novel? Anything! The key is to write!
As I was looking for ideas and inspiration on the internet, I came across Ariel’s YouTube channel where she talks about having a fun challenge with her boyfriend. I love her spirit and the idea was something that got me interested! I like to call it ‘Photo stories’ How does it work?
Every day, your partner takes and sends you a picture of something, and your job is to write a story, poem, or whatever you prefer, aligned with the picture. Pretty cool, right?
It’s great to involve your partner in it this way because then you can discuss your views on the topic together giving you even more ideas! And you are both being very creative. You can also do this with your friend who’d like to write too – hold each other accountable whilst having fun.
I’ve created a tracker for this which you can also find here , and kept it very simple by only logging the time I spent writing and word count for the day. We are starting on November 1st and the last day you can write is November 30th – your book needs to be submitted by 11.59pm.
Because I am still not quite sure what I am going to write about, I left my daily ‘topics’ blank. If you have a plot, you can fill in the names of your chapters, writing progress or how you felt. Anything you want.
On the opposite page, there are some useful resources I found and recommend for you to check out not only for writing but there is also a very good test on 16personalities that might help you to understand people – namely your partners or loved ones in general. General info such as the crucial number of 50,000 words has been broken down here too. I enjoy doing this very much 😉 so here we go, let’s do some maths:
50,000 words = 1,667 words/day , 250-300 words/page = 200-166.67 pages , 200 pages = 6.67 pages/day
YOU’LL THINK IT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH. DON’T YOU DARE LET THAT STOP YOU.
After this I started doing my research on archetypes, personalities, names, the What If game, and this is the result!
You can still use all of this even though you are not going to write a novel. I personally think that it’s good to be aware of what types of people are out there. As I was writing the archetypes I soon realised, I know a lot of people like this. Or that. And because you can relate to some of these descriptions, you can do something about it e.g. improve your talents, tolerate someone else’s behaviour and understand more why he’s doing what he’s doing, or even give up somebody who’s only using your goodness. These are things you can use in real life too!
Playing with Character names is very simple – you choose names you like! I divided the page so I have two halves – one for male names and the other for female names. And at the bottom of the same page, I have a few universal name ideas. On the opposite page, you can find surnames and combinations – these are my personal choices again, the names I’d like to use in my stories.
The ‘What if?’ game is supposed to give you some scene ideas, situations where things can get complicated/revealed, they can give a direction to your book, shape the characters etc.
Who is in the story and Settings will make your story alive – you pick the characters you want to have in your story which is going to guide you what kind of tale you’d like to tell – is it a drama, comedy with funny people? And of course, Settings is a page for where it’s happening e.g. countryside, urban city, ancient Egypt, future times etc. These two will help enormously if you have no idea what you want to write about. Just put down some ideas here and then see what happens.
Scenes and Structures are more strategic. You specify the situations that will occur within the book. The Structure page itself is your plot – what you want to start with, how the story goes and who appears where, and how you want this to end. It’s basically a bridge over which you walk, a map so you don’t get lost on the way to your last page of the book.
Title ideas and Questions before you start – these are quite self-explanatory 🙂 Although, the questions are about helping you to start the story as well as the previous pages I mentioned. You might want to ask yourself: “What kind of stories/movies do I like? What is my experience in this area? Do I want to write for children?” etc. Personally, I like to answer questions like this because I don’t want to find myself lost in the middle of the story because (example) of my lack of experience in a job that I gave to my character and that is crucial to tell the reader about and describe it in a deeper level than is usually necessary. Obviously, you can do your research on anything you like but in this case, we haven’t got time, 30 days is all they’ve given us so we need to move fast.
Fun facts! I thought this would make a great fun for us all as we write our way through this month! It’s nothing related to our story, it’s what is happening during the month as we write. For instance, I’d like to know what my starting weight was and then compare it to the end of the month weight – to see what changes it has made to my body in general, not just weight 😉 What my favourite snack was during the challenge or how many times I have actually seen my partner this month (haha, I’m just kidding, sweetie 😉 ). See what I mean? Fun sheet with anything you think might cheer you up or interest you at some point – keep it for the next year’s challenge! It’ll be great to look back!
And finally, a BIG Progress tracker of the entire NaNoWriMo! I had a lot of fun coming up with this and wanted to share it with you here . I got inspired by one of my past trackers from when I was recording how many kilometres I ran so when I got to designing this, I thought it would be great to use those Ks (thousands) as broken down numbers of those 50,000 words! How to fit them in though? Go around like you’re running around a soccer field! And the field is nothing else than our 30 days! Those are divided too and under line we have a number of words that should be written in total on that particular day. Above the line, that is the number of our actual written words we’ve got so far. I will combine this with the Simple tracker (pictured at the beginning) where I can easily put the numbers of words together (and have a clear view of each day) and transfer it over to the big picture here.
And here we are! Ready to grab a pen (or a laptop) and start our amazing story.
The most important thing is to write. Relax. You cannot fail, you can only make progress and you are a winner even if you don’t submit a 50,000 words novel. How come? You start. You try. And you do something that makes you happy! That is the point of it. If you are serious about writing and this is your very first attempt, don’t put too much pressure on yourself, you want to avoid the burn-out!
We only have a few days left so I’m going to let you go to get ready 😉
Good luck to you all!! And let me know how you’re doing ♥
- National Novel Writing Month
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