I’m willing to bet that most adults have thought of writing a book “someday.” As the author of four books, I don’t scoff at this goal. Indeed, I believe everyone is capable of such an endeavor, though there are two major problems to overcome: getting started and sticking with it.To help with these stumbling blocks, I suggest a program called National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Now don’t worry, if it’s a creative non-fiction book you want to write, such as a memoir, their strategy will work for you too. Here’s the deal: NaNoWriMo occurs every November. All who participate have the same goal: to write a 50,000-word manuscript during the month. Since November has thirty days, this means the writer has to average 1666 words per day.To join this event, you sign up at NaNoWriMo.org. The program is FREE, but the organization is a non-profit so they would appreciate donations after you fall in love with them. What exactly will you love?
Let me be clear, at the end of the month-long adventure you will have a very rough draft of your book. It can take months to turn it into a marketable work. But with 50,000 words on paper, you will be aching to see it in print. This is a terrific incentive to keep going. Also, please know that the average book contains 80,000 words, but again, you will have 50,000 reasons to continue.To tell you more, NaNoWriMo is a world-wide event that has taken place every November since 1998. In November 2017 alone, they had 394,507 participants on six continents. Of these, more than 58,000 reached their writing goal. According to the Nano website, since 2006 there have been 495 “published wrimos” which is defined as a book printed by a traditional publisher. There are also 174 self-published wrimos listed. Better still, Bustle reports on eight widely known books that were started as Nanowrimo projects:
(Books 6-8 are known as The Lunar Chronicles)As for me, I have participated in Nanowrimo twice and won twice. My first book was a novel, Poppa Jolly in Love. I wrote the first 50,000 words in November 2009. In its current form, it has 63,000 words. After being rejected by many agents, it sits in my desk drawer instead of a library shelf. However, I didn’t realize until recently that at 63,000 words it was simply too short for serious consideration.My most recent Nano victory took place on November 30, 2015 when I turned in 53,847 words of a memoir whose working title was, Loving Bill Nighy: A Fan’s Fantasy. In the book I use my crush on the British celebrity as a crutch to get over the loss of a loved one. In February 2019, I published the book with its new name, Love, Loss, and Moving On. The finished project has 90,966 words.A thirty-day challenge is an interesting thing. The first week or two are exhilarating! Then it all goes to hell. Beyond being exhausted, there is only time to write and no time to edit. Before long the whole project can feel sloppy, disjointed, and out of control. But you don’t have time to think things through, you must keep writing! That’s when the Nano pep talks come in handy. Here are two tips for reaching the daily word count:
If the two major problems of writing a book are getting started and sticking with it, fun tips like these will help you stick with it. Amazingly, the getting started part is easier still. Now that you know about NaNoWriMo, you know that for all intents and purposes, November 1st is the starting pistol at a race! Been meaning to write a book? November is coming. Get ready, get set, go!
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