Why? Because according to Chris Baty, initiator of the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) contest, the only thing you need to write a novel is neither time nor a plot: it’s just a deadline. “Inspiration in its most kick-ass form!”, according to Chris. Back to 1999, the aspiring novelist decided to write a novel in a month and involved twenty friends in this crazy undertaking. The NaNoWriMo was born. Thirteen years later, the contest involves more than 200,000 participants every November. Are you up for the challenge?
The rules of the contest
First, register on the NaNoWriMo page to make your challenge official. The goal is to write 50,000 words of fiction between November 1st and November 30th. To give you an idea of what this means, it represents about 1,667 words per day. Your novel can be in any language; it can be an entire novel or the first 50,000 words of a novel you wish to complete later. The most important thing is to write during that month, without using material written before. From 25 November, you can upload your work on the website to have its length verified. That’s it. No one judges the quality or even reads the novel. To win, you simply have to complete the 50,000 words. You’ll then receive a printable certificate. The reward is the satisfaction to have written a book, so there’s no pressure. It’s all about fun!
Tips and tricks
– If you think you won’t have time to write your book on top of your day job, think about all the hours spent surfing the Internet and watching TV. And since the contest takes place in November, you won’t be tempted by a drink on the terrace with your friends. See? You have time!
– Think about your novel as a first draft. It doesn’t have to be perfect. You might even produce a crappy first draft, but that’s life. It’s not important, because your goal isn’t to have your book be published by the end of the month. You will still have time to review it later.
– Of course you’ll need to prepare a little bit: think about what would be a good novel. Write a book you would like to read. If you prefer romance to sci-fi, that’s fine – be yourself!
– But don’t prepare too much – you might but too much pressure on yourself and never feel ready.
– Remember your everyday life is your best source of inspiration
– Try to involve your friends. Knowing that someone is taking on the same challenge as you will motivate you. You will eventually meet for coffee on Sunday at Starbucks to write together.
– Don’t take the whole exercise too seriously. Have fun!
For more advice about how to get work done with kids or what to eat and drink during your crazy writing month, refer to Chris Baty’s “No plot? No problem!” by Chronicles Books.