National Novel Writing Month can be one more tool for the belt of the successful writer. It drives you to put words down without slowing to account for grammar, flow or even waiting for that annoying muse to show. You just have to WRITE.
I have signed up for NaNoWriMo in the past, but things have always hindered me from reaching my goal of 50,000 words in the 30 days. By things, I am admitting that I just did not do what I set out to do.
There are plenty of “reasons” behind my stumbles in the attempts. I am alone in my journey – and who likes to travel alone. Other NaNoWriMo authors are blessed to meet up for write-ins, encouragement groups and other support. Of course, I am sure that there is at least one, lone writer out there that completed the challenge, so I am not sure that reason holds much water.
Making time for the writing can be a challenge for a mom that home schools three kids AND works as a full-time freelance writer. I would have to put out around 6,000 words per day just to be able to reach that golden mark and still hold up to the work of my clients and my own websites. Of course, I have committed to writing 6,000 words, so I am pretty sure that that reason has been busted sky high.
The novel I finished already needs to be edited and cleaned up so that I can shop it around. Editing a novel takes almost as much time as writing it from scratch. The formatting has to be completed, beta readers have to be found and I have to start thinking about the cover art. Of course, my day is set up so that the hours I write are separated from the hours I do other things LIKE edit existing work, so I am going out on a limb to say that this is one more reason that is more of a delusion than a reality.
The simple truth behind the fact that I never have completed the NaNoWriMo task is that I have never really put the effort behind to try and do it. I have said I would do it. I have even attended a kick-off party in a nearby city. The intentions might have been there, but the actions did not back them up.
Tips for a Successful NaNoWriMo for the Busy Freelance Writer
1. Write every day. It is only 50,000 words – which only requires around 1700 words per day. In the South, some writers may need to make that 2000 a day so that they can be off for football. I type around 60 words per minute – so I should be able to kick out 2000 words in an hour (maybe two at the most). You can set aside ONE HOUR per day to make your NaNoWriMo goal.
2. Start right now. You are not able to actually write the words down on paper, but you can begin to formulate a timeline for your story, map out the characters or even outline the chapters of your book. Get an idea of what you are writing so that you will open the path and make it easier for the words to flow when November 1st comes around.
3. Bury the editor. NaNoWriMo requires pouring out words at a rate that allows for very little editing along the journey. It is as much about learning the habit of writing daily as it is about crafting the next best-selling novel. Write without restrictions and then let your next draft be a heavy edit.
Writing a novel in 30 days seems overwhelming. Writing 1700 words in one day can seem like a mountain. Writing just 425 words, four times a day may seem a little more achievable. You can do it. Let the writer in you free and let the National Novel Writing Month create a new habit in you that can help grow you to the successful freelance writing career that you desire.