In 2014, I participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for the first time ever. It was a wonderful experience, which taught me three things:
- I could write under less-than-optimal conditions;
- I learned how to puke out what Anne Lamott calls your “shitty first draft.” I learned to lock my inner editor in the basement and just write.
- I learned that planning and strategizing for success is key.
I recommend NNWM as a way of kickstarting your next novel, because even if, at the end of the month, you laugh to read your manuscript, you’ll end up with a general idea of the story. AND, you’ll have drafted scenes and dialog that can be copied and pasted into your WIP.
- I wrote an outline of the story.
- I started a NaNoWriMo 3-ring binder, consisting of 30 looseleaf pages.
- I made labels which I stuck in the upper right corner of each page to note my progress and goals.
- I made notes at the end of each day to help me hit the ground running on the next day.
Here are some of my pages, beginning with the day before the starting gun. CLICK ON THE PHOTOS TO ENLARGE AND DARKEN BECAUSE THEY’RE WRITTEN IN PENCIL. I hope you decide to try NaNoWriMo. If you do, here is the website.