5 Steps to Success for National Novel Writing Month

You’ve probably known for a while that you want to write a book. Now, all you need to do is get the words onto the page. Of course, anyone who has ever sat down to write anything more than a grocery list knows that it’s rarely so simple.

But just as every thousand-mile journey must begin with a first step, every 50,000-word novel must begin with one single word. And that’s the great thing about National Novel Writing Month. Even if you’re not one of the “winners” who reaches the prose promised land of writing a 50,000-word manuscript between Nov. 1 and 30, you’ll still be on your way to completing your book.

By signing up at nanowrimo.org, you’re challenging yourself, holding yourself accountable and gaining access to a community of like-minded marathon writers.

So use this advice from a two-time NaNoWriMo participant; then go forth and make the most out of your November writing opportunities, NaNoWriMo or no.

  1. Be Accountable – One of the most important aspects of NaNoWriMo is the accountability factor. That’s why you should tell as many people as possible that you’ll be going for the 50,000-word goal in November. The more people you tell, the more help you’ll have during the challenge.
  2.  Seek Support – Take advantage of all the resources available through NaNoWriMo. In addition to receiving pep talks via Twitter, Facebook, email and more, you can use the site to connect with other writers in your community. These people can be your allies as you work through difficult passages or find yourself growing weary.
  3.  Prepare – Have an idea of who your characters will be and what they’ll be doing. Some people like to outline or have a rough three-act structure in mind; others storyboard. Do what works for you, but do it.
  4.  Focus – Figure out what time of the day and in what environment you write best. Then make a date with your writing desk every single day at that time (or two or three times a day if you work better in shorter spurts). 
  5.  Go with God – Should all else fail – the plot you started with begins to unravel; or you feel your focus slipping – come back to this: “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts.  Use them well to serve one another … Do it with all the strength and energy God supplies.  Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ.” – 1 Peter 4:10, 11

Whether or not you decide to join the hundreds of thousands of people all over the world participating in National Novel Writing Month this November, trust that you have what it takes to complete your book. Now go forth and write!

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