It's National Novel Writing Month! How will you celebrate?
It's here, writers -- the biggest, most important month of the year on the writerly calendar. It's the time when writers around the world take up their pens and take a Herculean task on their shoulders -- the task to complete one entire 50,000 word novel in just one month. If you're considering taking on the challenge, which can completely change the way you look at writing, here are a few tips to keep in mind so that you -- and your writing hand -- are still functioning by the end.
Marathon runners don't train by starting with twenty-six miles a day, and neither should you, or you'll fast encounter writer's burnout. Space out the work that needs to be done by taking notes on your novel, or even constructing a complete outline of the plot (most professional writers do it). Write a little every day, the same way your coaches tell you to stretch every day. Some writers plan out the month very methodically; they figure out that to finish, you've got to average 1,666 words a day. As long as you're staying near that average, you'll be fine.
It won't exactly be an accomplishment if you write a carbon-copy of Twilight in the next month. It also won't be too much of a challenge if you simply regurgitate something you've already written. So why not push yourself and write something entirely new? Spend the first day or two just brainstorming, imagining an idea that might be worth sticking with for the next sixty days. Remember, you've got to think of an idea that is deep and rich enough to sustain 50,000 words, not just a little short story!
Explore, wander, enjoy.
Ultimately, you're not going to produce your best work when you've got to write so much so fast. But NaNoWriMo can be a great chance for young writers to experience the rush that can come from writing and from getting inspired. So use this month to explore your writing and your own imagination. Above all, have fun!