Want to write a book in a month? On November 1, many authors will begin their first or second, or tenth novel. In just thirty days, they’ll write 50,000 words. Some 400,000 authors completed the NaNoWriMo challenge in 2015. Will you be a successful NaNoWriMo novelist on December 1, 2016?
(I wrote this post for NaNoWriMo entrants, but the advice is great for any time of the year.)
Of course, once you’ve completed your 50,000 words, you need to publish your novel. That’s when the real fun begins. 🙂
Join half a million others and write a book in a month
Writing a novel can seem like an enormous challenge, and it is. However, it’s a challenge that half a million authors will undertake this November. You can be one of them. On the other hand, you can set out on your own and write your novel, starting today.
Several writers have contacted me asking: “should I do NaNoWriMo this year?”
Is NaNoWriMo for you this year?
My blog post, Write a Novel in a Month: 5 Tips for Making Nanowrimo Worth the Effort, gives you some good advice on getting the most from NaNoWriMo. Firstly, however, you need to decide whether NaNoWriMo is worth it for you. It may not be, as I pointed out:
To “win” NaNoWriMo, you need to write 50K words in 31 days. That’s around 1,600 words a day. On average, I can write 1,500 words of first draft material in an hour. So theoretically, it’s only an hour out of my (and your) day.
However, writing takes energy. Time really is money, for a writer. If you’re making $100 per hour, you’re investing $3,100 in NaNoWriMo. Is that a wise investment for you, at this time?
Decisions, decisions: how to decide whether you’ll benefit from NaNoWriMo
If you’re unsure of whether you want to participate, ask yourself some questions:
- How does NaNoWriMo fit into my business plan for my writing?
- What benefits will I receive if I invest the time and energy?
- Can I schedule 1,500 extra words a day? When? (You’ll need to know how many words you can write in an hour);
- How will I publish my NaNoWriMo novel?
- How will I promote my novel?
Write a novel: the secrets — start at the END
NaNoWriMo can be an excellent idea for a new writer, or a nonfiction writer who wants to start writing fiction. You have a deadline, and you need to write a certain number of words a day to meet that deadline. I’m all for word counts and deadlines. 🙂
For experienced writers however, NaNoWriMo can be something of a time sink. I know, I know… your mileage may vary, but stay with me for a moment. 🙂
Experienced selling writers write for a living, or part of a living, if writing doesn’t yet make up their complete income. For selling writers, NaNoWriMo has a big defect. It’s this. The focus is all on writing, not on selling what you write. Many authors end up with a mass of words at the end of November, with no idea of how they might turn those words into income.
Professional authors start with their end in mind.
Make a plan, then write a novel: start with your end in mind
I’m a copywriter, which is a very good thing for a writer to be… it tends to remove sentimentality. 🙂 Copywriters are all about the sales. So, authors who want to sell their novel start with their blurb: the back cover copy/ book description which sells the book, before they write it.
Starting with your blurb has this HUGE benefit: you get to ask yourself is this a book I want to read? And… How many others will want to read this book? You need to be confident of your answers to both questions, BEFORE you start writing. Otherwise, you may end up with a mess of words you don’t even want to read yourself.
Therefore, if you want to enter NaNoWriMo, be a savvy author, and write your novel’s blurb — and its synopsis too, if you can — in the next few weeks, before NaNoWriMo kicks off.
In addition, consider developing a marketing plan for your novel. Give yourself December and January to edit your book, and launch it in February (or March.)
If you start with your end in mind, in December you’ll have not only written a book, you’ll have a novel you can promote and sell with confidence. Have fun… 🙂
Update: January 30, 2018
I developed the tactics and strategies in this book to help myself. My students have found them essential to producing both fiction and nonfiction almost effortlessly.More info →
You want to write a novel. Perhaps you can't get started. Or maybe you got started, and then you stopped.You need a plan, broken down into easy steps. This program began as a 30-day challenge which I organized for readers in 2010. Hundreds of writers joined the challenge and completed it. They wrote novels.More info →
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