• Megan DiMaria

Get ready for National Novel Writing Month!

Simply put, National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo for short) is the opportunity to jump-start your writing by completing 50,000 words on a new novel during the month of November. It sounds daunting, but it's doable. It's free to participate, but you're able to make a donation, too.


If you're interested in becoming part of the internet-famous NaNoWriMo community, go here to sign up. I haven't participated in years, but I'm considering jumping in this year. Once you get an account, you can (virtually) surround yourself with writing friends by inviting them to your buddy list. Previously, they had a tool to let you see how far you are getting, percent-wise, in your novel. It was pretty cool to watch that bar progress toward the 50,000 mark. I imagine they still have that available.


The website also gives you resources to get ready to write your novel:

  • Tips on developing your novel idea

  • How to spark an idea

  • Plot generator

  • Tips on creating convincing characters

  • Character generator

  • Tips on constructing a plot or outline

  • Tips on story world building

  • Tips to organize your life so you can write 50K in 30 days

So, start thinking about the components of the novel you want to write: character, plot, theme, setting, and genre. Figure out who your character is, what they want (goal), what sets them on their adventure (inciting incident), what complications they'll encounter that will prevent them from attaining their goal, what black moment will they experience, what lesson will they learn (epiphany), and what the resolution is.


Are you feeling intimidated? NaNoWriMo had tons of pep talks to cheer you on.


Some things to keep in mind if you're going to participate:

  • “Every first draft is perfect because all a first draft has to do is exist.” ~Jane Smiley

  • Don’t worry about typos and spelling errors during NaNoWriMo, you don’t have time! That’s why there’s a December.

  • There’s no other way to do it except to sit in the chair and WRITE.

  • Start brainstorming now.

  • Cheer on your writing friends.

  • Have faith in yourself.

Like a good deal? NaNoWriMo participants get discounts on great writer tools (lots of programs and apps). Check it out.


Other communities piggyback on NaNoWriMo. Are you writing a romance novel? Consider joining Harlequin editors for a week of craft tips and editor chats during HEA Writing Week, starting November 1st! Check out their blog for more details.


I've been a seat-of-the-pants writer, but I'm curious to see how I'll do with a more structured writing plan. Last year, I attended a webinar hosted by Ginny Yttrup.

Ginny presented her writing method, Your Novel Map. I bought the program, and I'm giving it a shot. Your Novel Map includes step-by-step instructions to copy your map so you can use it over and over again, along with bonus material. To help you prepare for NANOWRIMO, Ginny is offering Your Novel Map at 50% off through November 1, 2021!


Tick, tick, tick—time’s marching on, so if you’re interested in participating, start planning now. And, write on, friends!

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