When I first heard about National Novel Writing Month, I was very conflicted. On one hand, I very much like the idea of writing to a target, and for me as a very goal orientated person, it sounded like the perfect opportunity to get myself out there and try an idea which I may have been humming and harring about. On the other hand, it can seem rather soulless, not caring about what you write, but worried more about how much. A rushed novel is never going to intrigue anybody, lest of all a publisher.
But after rethinking about it for a little while, I am starting to side with the idea that it may be a good thing, especially to newer writers who have yet to find their voice (I’m counting myself into this category). There can be a fear that whatever you write may not be good enough, and that stops you writing at all. Perhaps pushing though that to reach a goal, an obtainable number, rather than trying to create the best manuscript in the world, would help a newbie such as myself to just go and do it.
after reading about it, arguments for and against, I’ve made some tips which I’m going to be using myself to get myself through:
- This is only a first draft, it will not be perfect, and don’t treat it as such. If you are using this as a way to simply get a story don you’ve had in your head, great, but if you would want to take your manuscript further, be prepared for it to take a lot longer than a month for a finished draft to come together.
- Have a solid structure ready to go. You can’t write a novel that quickly without having a solid backbone to work from. Before you start really pick holes in your story, flesh it out as much as possible, making sure to go that extra step to make your life easier in the coming month.
- If you can’t finish, don’t give up! Just because you didn’t make the deadline, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to finish your manuscript. The idea is still there. The connections with the characters are still there, and whats still there is time to tell their story!
It’s so easy to sit back and think of all the things you could do, we all have so many ideas that float around out head, but it’s putting those ideas to paper that make us different to everybody else. People may criticise you, your work, you wanting to write to NaNoWriMo, but you are doing something far better, you are creating something, which is far more than most people do. You are the ones who put yourself forward to try to do something your mind has created.
But at the end of the of the month, and you look back at what you have created, you can be proud that you have put yourself out there, and done something that many other people would shy away from. Seeing that manuscript can really give a push to what you believe you can do, and I know that when I see my manuscript all finished, I’ll be glad I put in the extra effort, and you will too.