Welcome everyone to my very first blog, not only for this website but my first, ever! My reasons for starting this blog is primarily because some of the topics I have been asked to educate or comment on are simply too large for Facebook and Twitter pages without overcrowding them. So, it was suggested to me to begin this so that I can write as much or as little as I please on a certain topic.
To begin with, it seems that all you little authors out there are gearing up for this year’s NaNoWriMo competition. I’m very pleased to announce that I will be participating this year for the very first time. I’m quite excited about it!
For those of you who are not aware, NaNoWriMo is an annual competition to write 50,000 words on your novel during the month of November. It is a massive achievement if you can succeed and I have congratulated many of my friends over the years for reaching the target. There are some massive benefits for joining in:
- Creates healthy writing habits – as I search for insightful and inspirational phrases to post on Facebook and Twitter, there are a few that appear everywhere I look. One of those is to write every day. It doesn’t have to be much and it doesn’t have to be great, just do it! While that seems obvious and simple, sometimes life just gets in the way. As a single mother to 4 kids under 5 (yes, you read that correctly), I know all about how life can impact your ability to be creative, having issues with prioritising family and work, and don’t get me started on exhaustion. I am however, looking forward to seeing what I can achieve with my WIPs during the month of November and the flow-on effect this will have for the subsequent months.
- Huge support network – when reading tweets of a nighttime, I regularly pop over to check the #NaNoWriMo feed to see what people are doing and if I can lend any support. I am always so pleased to read the supportive and genuine congratulatory comments posted. The ‘Camps’ have recently ended for this year which seem to have been very successful. I think that is what is helping to build such a hype about this year’s competition.
- There are no losers – this is a competition of you versus a blank page, which I will agree – is one of the most daunting thoughts. What I love about NaNoWriMo is that even if you don’t quite reach the 50,000 target, you will have a massive chunk of your WIP completed. That in itself is winning no matter which way you slice it.
- Provides self-education on the first draft and editing phases – I had brunch only this morning with a quite accomplished author and we were discussing her looming deadline of her latest novel. She was explaining to me how she isn’t able to move forward in her story knowing that what she wrote in an earlier section is dribble. This was creating a writers’ block for her and was becoming quite stressful with her deadline around the corner. I sat quietly and listened for a while, until I pointed out one simple issue she was having: The first draft is NOT about looking back, it is about looking forward. I asked her to tell me what needed to happen next in her story with a single condition: do not tell me anything about what was already written. After only a little prompting, she is off now writing her novel. She knew what needed to be done, she didn’t have writers’ block nor did she need any input from me. NaNoWriMo is fantastic at helping writers get through their first draft without looking back, simply because there is no time to do so.
- Networking opportunities – the various chat opportunities on the website and Twitter are a great place to meet with other authors in the exact same space as you. You can share issues that you find difficult, things that helped or even brainstorm together. You may meet more experienced authors who can help guide you or even publishers and authors who you can later pitch your novels to. You may even see BetaReaders on there occasionally. It’s a big world out there and aside from talent and hard work, the key to success is networking.
- Sense of achievement – writing 50,000 in 30 days is a huge feat and should not be brushed aside. Whether you work from home like me, run the rat race or are lucky enough to be a full time writer already, to create something from nothing is awesome.
There are no secrets to being successful during your NaNoWriMo campaign. Begin the month well-prepared. By this, have all your plotting complete including story line, chapter break downs, character descriptions, research complete and anything else you might need. Let your friends and family know that you’ll be doing it. This will hopefully limit the distractions you have during November. Register on www.nanowrimo.org and above all, just get it done. It doesn’t matter at this stage about the quality of your work. Nora Roberts was known to say, “You can fix anything but a blank page.” That is what December is for.