If Walls Could Talk: Blasting Off with NaNoWriMo 2016

M.H. Norris

A lot of writers embarked the adventure that is known as National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMmo yesterday. They blasted off on a mission to write 50K words in 30 days.

It’s not too late to start. You can take yesterday’s words and make them up as you go.

NaNoWriMo is a great way to build a solid writing habit.

For me, it’s the one month out of the year where I use some of my writing time to write something purely for fun, for me. Usually, it’s outside of the mystery genre because I like to use the month to push myself. Sometimes, it’s an idea I’ve had that I just can’t quite get rid of and know that if I give myself the chance to write it, that maybe I’ll be able to focus on actual contracted work.

This year, it’s outside my usual genre. It’s not only something I’m pushing myself to do but it’s something I’ve said that I always wanted to write, and I decided that there was no time like the present.

So yes, I’m taking my column this week to add my two cents into the flurry of NaNoWriMo advice.

This is my fifth year doing it and I’ve only won twice. There’s a bit of a rush when you hit November 30th and can validate your word count and enter the coveted winners page.

So here’s some advice for those of you who are embarking on NaNoWriMo journeys of your own.

1) Things might not go according to plan

This can happen in a variety of ways. There might be days where you can’t write 1,667 words. Make it up another day or if you know it’s coming try and work ahead a little so that the loss of a day doesn’t hit you but so hard.

Your story might not go the way you planned. I’m talking to both Planners and Pansters. Granted, Pansters don’t have a hard set plan in place (panthers earning their name by flying by the seat of their pants), but that vague idea of what you want can change.

Either you find your characters lead you on a different path or you discover it and lead them. People who haven’t had the experience of characters telling some or all of a story don’t understand how they can influence how you write, but trust me when I say it’s a very real thing.

2) The finished product will be rough

You’re writing 1,667 words every day for 30 days to get to 50K. The draft that gets produced is going to be rough. I’ll join the people who say to tell your inner editor to take a break.

To an extent that is.

Yes, you can’t sit there and obsess over editing here in November. But if you need to tweak something so that you’re story flows better, go ahead and do it when you’re thinking about it to avoid the risk of forgetting.

But accept that fact that if you want to try to publish whatever you are writing this November, you’re going to need to spend some quality time with a red pen.

Or, if you’re like me, a pink pen.

3) It’s not going to be all sunshine and roses

The 20-30K point can be rough. Middles are hard, I’ve done a couple blog posts noting that. Thanksgiving and Black Friday are this month and all around us people are gearing up for the holiday season and there are so many other things you can do besides sitting down and typing up 1,667 words each and every day.

Don’t give in to that temptation.

Granted, things are going to happen and there might be days where you don’t quite hit 1,667.

That’s okay.

But don’t let it happen a lot because I learned my first couple of tries that those days can build up fast if you’re not careful and the more you miss the harder it is to make it up.

For those of you doing NaNoWriMo, you’ve done one of the most important things you can do as a writer. You’ve told yourself that you’re going to sit down and write that book.

So congratulations for those of you who blasted off on that journey yesterday. And for the rest of you, as I said earlier, it’s not too late to start now.

Good luck!

Margie22's TARDIS NaNo Calendar