National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, is coming upon us faster than we realize. Many of the writing communities are already buzzing with their plans for the big month and how they plan to cope with it. The NaNoWriMo experience can be a blast for many professional and amateur writers, but if you aren’t careful it can also force you to spend money that you might not otherwise spend. These tips will help you to get on the right track before the big kick off happens, so you can feel confident about your writing skills while also keeping your life and budget balanced.
1. Find Free Software
One of the first expenditures for those looking to write a novel is software. Many authors try to find software for all sorts of things. You will first need word processing software so that you have something to use when writing that will make editing and formatting easier. You will also need editing software if you don’t plan on hiring an editor right away. On to of that, you might also want to look into software that can help you turn your novel into an ebook. All of this can cost you a pretty penny if you’re not careful. Luckily, there are lots of free options out there to choose from. So, make sure to browse around and look for recommendations, so you can find a cheap or free option that will suit your needs.
2. Get Lots of Rest
Many people often try to pull all nighters or write when they are too tired to do so. You’re not going to magically be able to write from sun up to sun down every single day of the month. Nor will you be able to cut back on your sleep to an unhealthy level. Losing sleep and over working yourself will put you on the fast track to writer block city, so don’t sacrifice your health just to get your word count in for the day. Instead, if you’re feeling tired go to bed earlier and set your alarm clock for earlier in the morning. You will be able to write when your mind is fresh, which might actually help improve your word count as well as the quality of your writing. You might also consider taking a cat nap if the creative juices just aren’t flowing.
A lot of people, especially those that are newcomers to the event, believe they are going to sit in a chair and write from morning until night. Although this is possible, it might not be the best thing to do for your health or your novel. Sitting constantly will make you feel terrible and won’t help you create any of the amazing things you are otherwise capable of making. So, instead of working all the way through the day, take some breaks to exercise. It is wise to stand up and move around every twenty minutes. You might consider going for a jog or walk to get the creative juices flowing again. This will make your writing better while also ensuring your health is going strong too. Exercise is a great stress reliever as well, so run or dance away your frustrations if your novel isn’t working out.
4. Join a Community
Luckily, there are lots of amazing writing communities available to authors online and in person. You might be surprised by how many you find in your own community that you may have otherwise not known about. A community is a great way to find the support you need to carry on with your novel. People in these communities are dealing with the same struggles as you, so you might feel better sharing with them or even taking in some advice. On top of that, you might find a fellow writer that you particularly bond with. This can become a fruitful relationship especially if you trust their opinion on literature, as you can always read and rate one another’s work. Most communities are free of charge too, which will make joining one even sweeter.
5. Maintain Your Schedule
Many people also try to fit in writing when they probably shouldn’t be. For instance, if you’re on the clock at work then it might be wise to do the job you’re paid to do, opposed to writing your novel. You might also make sure you’re not writing when you should be doing other things, like fixing meals and so on. This can lead the family to have to deal with a fast food or low quality diet for the month, which can cause health problems and a budget crisis. Instead, just to plan around your schedule cleverly, but don’t stray from it. For instance, meal prep before November begins. Plan on writing during your lunch hour. Ask someone to take your carpooling duty in exchange for the rest of October or December. There’s lots to do to help make your dream possible.
6. Make a Plan
One of the most important things you can do is make a plan before you begin. Winging a whole novel is possible and people have been successful at it. However, doing it in a month and expecting it to be amazing is a lot to ask for. It might even cause you to feel disappointed or completely lose steam before the event is over. Instead, take some time to plan things out. For instance, you can ease into a word count, brainstorm ideas and branch your ideas out. You might even get some research in to improve on the quality of your writing. Your plan can help you have more confidence as you write, which might make you feel better about the experience.
7. Make Goals
Sometimes, NaNoWriMo can feel very intimidating. So much so that many people lose steam before the month even begins. You don’t have to let the intimidation of the event get to you. Instead, make your own goals to reach throughout the event. You don’t have to write a full novel during the month, especially if you aren’t ready to tackle this. Cater the month to your own writing and use it to reach goals you’d like to meet. You can even work on short stories or poetry to get things started. Write down your goals before the month begins though, so you know what you need to work towards. Make sure they are realistic though. You can also increase the level of goals for next year. You never know, you might feel inspired to make every month a writing month for you, after using this month to make some fresh and exciting goals.
8. Learn your Rights as an Author
If you’re writing to put your work out into the world, then you might want to take the last few weeks of October to brush up on your rights as an author. Luckily, there are lots of great websites that can help you do this. You will learn everything from creative rights to copyrights, which will help you feel a bit more comfortable about sending your piece of art into the world. Before you know it, you’ll have your rights down so well that you will be eager to help other writers feel confident that they have taken every precaution with their own work of art.
9. Trade Editorial Skills
Part of writing a novel is editing it. It is often times impossible for an author to completely edit their piece of art on their own. Sometimes, we need the insight of others to be successful in this area. However, an editor can cause you quite a bit of money. On top of that, you never know what you’re going to get with an editor as you might not work well with each other. Instead, you might meet up with other writers. When you find someone that has good quality work that you enjoy then you might ask if you can trade editorial skills with them. You can swap books and edit from there. Of course, you should also take a look at the person’s editing skills when they return your copy. If you’re happy with the work then you might continue to work with the other person, if not hand your work off to someone else. You’ll save a lot of money doing this and you’ll even improve your editing skills in the process.
10. Submit Your Work
Part of the process of NaNoWriMo is to get a novel written, but this gives you the perfect opportunity to get ready to start submitting your work too. Once you’ve finished up with your novel and you’ve edited it then it is time to start submitting it to others. This can be a pretty pricey process to begin with, especially if you’re mailing your work off to publishers. Luckily, there’s a few great places you can submit your work to online now. Some of them even take your work for free, which can help save you a small fortune. Your work might be published straight away, but you will learn more about the submission process and improve your skills as an author in the process.
For writers, NaNoWriMo can be a stressful but fruitful time. These ten tips should help you embrace your month of writing, so you can get more out of it. On top of that, it will help you prevent yourself from spending money you don’t have to on everyday life as well as the writing process. So, take some time to embrace your skills after noting these helpful tips.