About this time tomorrow I’ll hopefully be typing much faster than I am right now. November 1 is the first day of National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo 2017.
The goal is to type a 50,000 word novel from beginning to end in the month of November. That’s around 1,677 words per day, every day. That’s a lofty goal, but it’s not impossible. I’ve tried NaNoWriMo once before, in 2013 while I was writing Rails Crash Course, but you can’t really write a non-fiction book that quickly. I only hit 16,359 words. It required too much research and testing.
I’ve outlined my novel pretty well, and written lists of characters, scenes, and settings. I’ve also been doing a lot of research and reading leading up to the start. A quick Google search will turn up many blog posts and other online articles promising to prepare you for the event.
Blog posts are great, but I still enjoy old-fashioned books. My favorite is On Writing by Stephen King. He’s not my favorite author, but this book really speaks to me. I don’t follow his approach to writing. He’s more of a pantser, where as I’ve always been a plotter, but I still find his stories funny and inspirational.
In addition to King’s book, I’m listening to the Writing Excuses podcast. I can’t believe I just discovered this podcast. It’s been around for years - since 2008! It has a great cast. Brandon Sanderson usually leads the discussion. This season he’s joined by Mary, Dan, and Howard. New episodes come out weekly, and each is around 15 minutes of advice and inspiration.
When it comes time to actually put words on the page, my current tool of choice is Ulysses. It syncs to all of my devices via iCloud and makes it easy to organize projects into folders and quickly switch between them. It uses Markdown for formatting which is how I write everything, even the post you’re reading right now.
My plan is to try to total 1,200 words per weekday in two sprints - one in the morning and one in the evening. There are 22 weekdays and 8 weekend days in November. That means I’ll need to hit around 3,000 words per weekend day to hit 50,000.
This may be tough, but if it was easy everyone would write a novel.