Mystery Writers: Why NaNoWriMo works

Words on the page. Most writers agree that this is the key ingredient to shift from wanting to be a writer to being a writer. It is certainly key to seeing your book in print. NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) was created with this in mind: words on the page. Fifty thousand words, ideally.

Originally a November push, the concept was so strong that ‘Camp NaNoWriMo’ now runs in April and July. While there might not be as much public chatter on social media, the concept is the same. Find your group, set a stretch goal, and write.

That’s all: Support group. Goal. Write.

Support groups are available through NaNoWriMo. Other groups, including one I’m involved with, Sisters in Crime, offers their own NaNoWriMo write-ins. You don’t have to go this route. You could rely on your existing critique group, or simply ask a friend to hold you accountable.

The standard 50K NaNoWriMo goal was based on the notion that this is a healthy chunk of a novel. Perhaps it is a complete first draft that will be expanded. Maybe it’s the first 50% of the manuscript. Either way, the end is in sight. The most important aspect of the goal is that it is a stretch!

Thirty days. Just do it. Commit to the practice of writing. Perhaps you set a new time (super early or super late)? Or maybe you set aside time during your lunch break. It’s not necessary to set a word count goal. A commitment of time might work best for you. The point is to achieve words on the page AND establish healthy patterns that will see you through to the end – and beyond!

It doesn’t have to be part of official NaNoWriMo, but decide to take the thirty day challenge and set goals. Then watch the magic unfold.

Have your own NaNo success stories? Or perhaps another path to getting it down? Share with us here or on Facebook and Twitter!

One comment

  1. The only time I did NaNoWriMo I managed something like 47,000 words. Not bad. At the time, maybe thirteen or so years ago, the advice was just write don’t plan. That suited me just fine because I’m not a planner.

    So I ended up with a complicated story (I always do), characters I love, too many subplots, and no idea of how to pull it together into a novel. Over the years I’ve attempted to wrestle it into shape so it’s a little more focused but still not a novel.

    But I still love the story and the characters and I’ll continue to work on it between my romances and the Corelli mysteries.

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