November is NaNoWriMo month. Writing a novel in a month is a great goal. A daunting one for most of us. Not a perfect novel. Just the first draft. I usually don’t participate in NANoWriMo. Thanksgiving and lots of birthdays makes it too challenging. I tend to do the one-month marathon in March during Seekerville’s Speedbo. That month has worked the last few years for me. But you can choose any month to write your rough draft in 30 days. First, you need to get a few things done before hand.
- Complete your research
By this I mean basic research. Setting, plot development, vocabulary for genre, backstory information such as medical terms, military speak or police procedure. You can add more detail for clothing etc. during the rewrite phase.
- Have notes, outlines. Character sketches and setting maps finished.
Notes help you remember what you wanted to write for specific scenes. Character sketches guide you in your character’s responses to situations. The sketch helps remind us of bad habits, fears or past hurts.
- Plot out your daily word goal
The goal is up to you. Divide the require end count for your genre by the days you plan to write. You can plan a specific word count goal that gets you half way or three quarters through your manuscript. That’s usual enough of an incentive to finish it.
80,000 divided by 30= 2667 daily goal
45,000 divided by 30= 1500 daily goal
80,000 divided by 25= 3200 daily goal
45,000 divided by 25= 1800 daily goal
- Figure out what time(s) of the day are best for you to write each day.
I prefer mornings because my creative juice gets drained after 7pm. My day job days tend to produce a smaller word count unless inspiration hits at night.
- Choose your quiet place(s) for maximum productivity.
If you work better surrounded by noisy family, go for it. Most often there is that desk in your office, the kitchen table or the recliner in the den where creativity blooms. Sometimes a location away from home can help inspire reaching a word count goal. I can’t do Starbuck or Panera’s because they’re just too noisy. But give me a study room at the library and I can knock it out of the park.
- Resolve to do your best and not quit writing until your 30 days have past.
Even if you don’t reach your word count goals because some days got complicated. You’ve managed to get more words on paper than if you hadn’t accepted the thirty-day challenge.
- Do it with friends.
NaNoWriMo and Speedbo encourage working with others. They provide help and encouragement all along the way. You can gather a few writer friends and hold each other accountable for your progress. Weight Watchers uses this same strategy. We know any hard thing is easier when we don’t feel alone. Writing is a lonely endeavor.
- Reward yourself
Set short and long-term rewards. A specially Latte or your favorite decadent treat for a weekly word count goal. Perhaps a week-end excursion for complete the 30-day challenge. If you tell your spouse you’re plan is a romantic get-away if you meet the challenge, they will probably do all they can to ensure you succeed.
- Post it on Social Media
This accomplishes two things. Additional accountability and early marketing for your book. Those who follow your progress are going to be curious about the finished project.
- Prayer and reflection
Time with the Lord brings clarity and encourages our spirit. Daily revitalization is a key to perseverance.
Hope you found these tips helpful for whenever you decide to take a 30-day challenge. My last two books began at Speedbo. I’m gearing up to complete my next rough draft through Speedbo as well.
I’d love to hear how thirty-day challenges have grown your writing career. Share any other tips you’ve found helpful.