It’s October. The start of a brainstorming period in nano-writing your novel for this year’s National Novel Writing Month. As a participant of last year’s nano-writing (yes, I call it that way) I’ve learned lessons, tips, guides, and different styles when it comes to writing your first novel. Of course, there are things that we have to avoid and must pay attention to if we want to win the challenge this year. Cramming days, sleepless nights, pressured moments–yes, it sure is a word-war! But if this is your first time in joining the NaNoWrimo, of course, you’d be looking around for tips and advises from previous nanowriters. Congratulations! then, let me first tell you.
My 10 Useful Tips for NaNoWrimo Beginners
1. Design your story. First and foremost, you create your plot. You create an outline for the flow of your story. You must have an overview of what will happen first and will be the end of your story. As a nano-writer beginner, this is the most important part that I’ve came to realize. Even more important than creating your characters. Why? Because you can create characters and assemble them much easier and accordingly to your taste when YOU already have an overview of your novel.
2. If you take tip #1 for granted, then at the middle of November, you’ll find yourself realizing that your story have gone too long–and it will be difficult for you to end it. I swear, it’s a struggle. Design your plot first according to your taste! And everything will flow much easier later in the process.
3. Describe your characters. If you have a profound view of your novel, creating your characters will not be a problem. You can now easily describe the types of characters that will perfectly fit your story. Make an outline of your characters, too.
4. Character check. Always make a character check during the writing process because you might swap their roles and it will confuse the flow of your story–unless, of course, if you want it that way!
5. Overdoing it is a No-no. So, after creating your plot and describing your characters, then of course you’ll be writing them. You’ll find yourself loving what you’re doing. And you’ll love what you’re writing. Because this is your first time in nano-writing, you are driven by the fire of finishing your novel no matter what it cost–and the sooner is much better! Eventually, since you accepted this challenge, you will have sleepless nights, disturbing days, and pressured moments–well, welcome to the NaNoWrimo world! It can’t be avoided! But hey, don’t overdo it! Sleepless nights are normal for nanowriters, but overdoing it is not normal, yes you! Always find time to relax and rest. If you’re writing to death, it will stress you out and you will not enjoy writing anymore. Eventually, if you overdo it, you’ll end up traumatized.
6. Join NaNoWrimo Forums. When you get to the point that you’re lacking out of words and ideas to fit into you story,
and yes you’ll experience this point, don’t freak out. NaNoWrimo communities exist! You can always join the discussion and seek help from others. NaNoWrimo writers and liaisons can always help you. When you need assistance for your novel, check the forum! It will never fail you. As a beginner, this is a great help.
7. Have a life, yes, YOU. So here comes November, and you’re cramming to write in order to reach that one 50,000-word count before the month ends. You would be so determined to finish your novel, of course, everyone else does! But because of your determination you would sometimes forget to get out of your room–but oh come on, see some sunlight! If you want to win the challenge healthy and sound, then eat healthy foods, have enough rest, take time to relax, kneel down and pray–perhaps intercede for new ideas. And yes, you’re still alive so go and HAVE A LIFE. Never forget to interact with your family and friends, even when NaNoWrimo’s already pressuring you. Relax….and write later.
8. So you have a writer’s block. Now what? When you get to this point, congratulations, ‘coz it means you’re a writer! Every writer experiences this, so don’t eat the feeling of disappointment because you’re not alone. If a writer’s block is eating up your brain, then you can’t really do anything about it than have time to relax–yes, again! Don’t let this situation bother you, mind you. Instead, make this as an opportunity to go outdoors and have time for your self, family, friends and a quiet time with the LORD. And if you’re ready to write once again, go brainstorming. Read your story and create some reflection about it. Don’t forget to check your outlined plot, once you do that, it will help you to accumulate new ideas and helpful words.
9. Always carry a pen and notebook. I did this last year and well, did it really work! A pen and a small notebook in your bag or pocket is an awesome trick for your writings’ sake! There are times when you’re just going to suddenly think of an idea out of nowhere and you know that it will be useful for you novel–but oops, what if you’re in the middle of somewhere and you don’t have your personal computer or writing device with you? That’s where a pen and notebook comes in a handy, which is why I recommend you to really carry this two all the time. We all know, ideas can either come and go. And it will be such a waste to waste that idea just because you were not able to take them down on your notes! A tablet or your smart phone will do, too!
10. Winner or not, when November ends, celebrate! If you are able to come up with the 50,000-word count before November ends, congratulations! It’s a celebration. If, by any chance, despite your endless pursuit of reaching that 50,000-word count in one month, despite reading these tips, and you’re still not able to reach the target–don’t lose hope! NaNoWrimo won’t end this year! There is still next year, you know that, don’t you? Well, winner or not, you still have to congratulate yourself for embracing the challenge!!! Whether you completed your novel or not, celebrate! Because you can finally drop the status of being a: beginner. You can proceed to the next level and replace the word beginner with this heartwarming phrase…
“I’m a NaNoWrimo Novelist!”