As most writers know, November is a special month because of NaNoWriMo, otherwise known as National Novel Writing Month. We here at borrowed solace do not accept novels, but have in the past accepted excerpts that were not used in novels, but came from one.
So what is this challenge? Basically, you have to write 50,000 words towards a novel (or complete a novel) or large writing project within 30 days. But why can’t this be a collection of short stories, novellas, and poems that make up 50,000 words like our very own journal?! It’s up to you!
So our challenge to you, as some of us editors will participate in this challenge as well, is to write 50,000 words–whether it actually ends up as a novel you have always wanted to write, a memoir, a journal, a chapbook, or a collection of short fictional or nonfiction stories is up to you. Writing is hard when you have a full-time job, school, life, pets, family, friends, clubs, groups, and so much more, so here are a few tips from us editors on what we do for this challenge:
Tip #1: Get organized.
First, know what you are going to do, how you are going to do it, and when you are going to do it. The where and why really don’t matter right now. Some people can write anywhere and some people have a designated writing spot and most writers just like to write. So, are you going to write a brand new novel, finish a novel left hanging in your literary closet of unfinished ideas, or a collection of stories or poems? Once you decide on what, then you can address the how–meaning, how are you going to piece it together? Are you going to write in order of the chapters, write a bunch and then piece together how the stories or poem should follow each other? You need to figure out where to start off from if you are completing a novel. Make an outline, or an agenda day by day if you are a planner like me. I think the biggest challenge for me is finding the time to sit down and actually write!
Tip #2: Set goals you can achieve every day.
The purpose of the challenge is to write—not edit. To put words down on paper to total 50,000. It may seem like a lot, especially to achieve in 30 days, but managing what you can do in a day can really help. Maybe take a few days to plan and devise an attack, then write and keep track of how many words you can write in a day. Some people are fast writers and some are really slow…like me. I write slow, it takes a full day to write two chapters for me.
Tip #3: Get it done!
No excuses, no distractions—except for research or world developing–and no hesitation. For some writers we hesitate to write because we may not have inspiration. Not having any inspiration is not a good excuse, procrastination is not an excuse (though very real), and not being good enough is definitely not an excuse (we’ve all been there, full of doubt). Wing it or plan out a strategy, but know that you can write 50,000 words in a month…in 30 days, and it can be awesome!
Tip #4: Don’t stop.
When you are tired, unfocused, and unsure where to go, just step back, look at what you already completed, and keep going. Most writers won’t challenge themselves with this opportunity, but a lot do. Be the one who doesn’t stop and can complete an amazing project that not a lot of writers can actually complete.
Tip #5: Don’t hesitate to step out into the community.
During this month, awareness of writing spreads, so a lot of people are writing! Don’t be afraid to reach out, talk, and interact with people doing this challenge, especially us here at borrowed solace. You can comment on this blog if you ever need a hand in this challenge, because we editors are struggling too.
We are writers, storm and tide makers, playing the dramatist on stage, the quirky fashion designer tailoring our words, and we are the humans willing to jump into the sea to see what kind hurricane we can create. So don’t be afraid—jump with us!