Plan on writing in November? What a novel idea

Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Photo by Ahmad Faiq

 

Hang onto your seats everybody, it’s Oct. 25.

You know what that means? 

You have one week left to plan your novel.  

Sound the alarms, bare the trumpets and practice your typing skills. Try not to panic, then fail, because we’re definitely panicking right now. 

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) happens every November. It’s a worldwide not-for-profit that encourages literacy and creative writing. 

The goal of the month is to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. That breaks down to around 1,667 words a day. It’s ambitious – and it’s scary – but it’s totally worth it.  

So how can you make the most of this last week leading up to the word-count dash? If you’re like me, you have to plan! 

“Any planning or outlining that you can do before November also helps you make the most of the limited time you have,” Vanessa Ricci-Thode, the NaNoWriMo municipal liaison [ML] for Waterloo, said in a written statement to The Cord.  

So, with new notebook in hand, I’m in the process of writing down details of my characters so I can refer back to them later. 

What’s their eye colour? What’s their middle name and where did they grow up? Little things like this will come up again and again. Having something to refer back to, for me, is invaluable and it saves time when you’re racing to just meet daily deadlines.  

I also find that writing down a basic plot will help you develop your thoughts and help you to avoid writer’s block when you’re in a time crunch.  

Does it ever actually happen like you plan it? Very highly unlikely. But having an idea will keep you focused and motivated.  

It also helps that if you’re bored with going in chronological order, you can skip to an exciting and memorable scene to keep that word count going up towards your goal. 

But it’s not just planning ahead that helps you to triumph in this seemingly impossible challenge. There are things in your habits that you can change to meet the goal as well. 

“It’s important to remember that even if you don’t hit the 50k word goal, developing good writing habits will help you keep writing into December and beyond. Even 10 [thousand] words a month is a full length novel in a year. Not bad!”

“First thing to prep for NaNo is to make the time for it. Tough to do, especially in university, but cutting out on some distractions can help,” Ricci-Thode said.  

Ricci-Thode encouraged the use of internet blockers, such as Anti-Social and Freedom, to keep you focused on your writing and off of social media. 

Finding how and when you write best was another of Ricci-Thode’s biggest pieces of advice. Cater to how you work best and don’t mess around with the rest. 

And that’s swell for us at Laurier, because she’s throwing writing sessions in our library for people like you and I to come write together. There’s events all over Kitchener-Waterloo, to be frank, but the ones at our library are just too convenient to pass up. 

To find out more about these events, just set Waterloo to your municipality on the NaNoWriMo website and take the time to read the emails from your “ML.” 

From my years doing NaNoWriMo, my biggest advice is to not get discouraged if you happen to fall behind. Things come up and it’s so easy to be swallowed by the word count even if you just miss one day. 

Break down that 1,667 words to the bare minimum. Divide it by the number of days you have left and add that amount to each day as you go along. Really, it’s likely you’ll have to write just a few hundred more words instead of doing it in one big chunk. 

Most importantly, remember that this challenge is just for fun. It shouldn’t be a source of stress or anxiety. Just do what you can and be proud of what you can accomplish.  

If you give up, you’ll regret it. Been there, done that. But there’s nothing wrong with setting your own goals as well. 

“It’s important to remember that even if you don’t hit the 50k word goal, developing good writing habits will help you keep writing into December and beyond. Even 10 [thousand] words a month is a full length novel in a year. Not bad!” Ricci-Thode concluded.  

Not bad at all, my friends. So if you see me madly typing away – and it’s not a Sunday night when I’m writing for The Cord – come sit down and chat for a magical, novel talk.  

We’re going to hit these goals together, and we’re going to have the bragging rights to prove it.  Han

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