It’s NaNoWriMo time again – and here’s the deal

National November Novel Writing Month begins in a few weeks – challenging writers around the world to produce a 50,000 word work of fiction in just 30 days.

Wright_Typewriter2That’s a pace to challenge the best of the professionals. Although it’s definitely do-able. Don’t forget, Jack Kerouac whipped out On The Road in one three-week writing barrage. It’s one of my favourite books and has to be considered a literary classic by any measure.

So really, the question is not ‘whether’, you can blast 50,000 words out in that time-frame, but ‘how’.

We can’t do much better than taking a lead from Kerouac. Despite his intent to write via a spontaneous free-flowing ‘stream of consciousness’, he actually put quite a bit of prior planning into On The Road, including several earlier false starts. When he sat down at his typewriter to begin the marathon, he already had his characters sorted out, the plot and events in his head, and knew where he was going. The detail of his text then danced around that in what, to my mind, was an ideal blend of pre-planned structure with the soaring creativity of free-flow writing.

Progress, nineteenth century style; bigger, faster, heavier... more Mordor.
That’s me by the truck. A double-size truck designed to carry 100-ton loads in one hit – but not daunting, once it’s figured out. Like a novel, really…

Of course it’s easy to say that. The real issue is doing. And I’m going to help you. Over the next while, through the lead-up to NaNoWriMo and beyond, I’ll be detailing just how to make all that happen. How to write stuff – fast and well. I’ve got some posts lined up that’ll give you tips, tricks and techniques for getting there – plus, to fill the gaps between the regular posts, I’ll be re-blogging a few classics from my earlier NaNoWriMo advice, years ago. And check out other stuff on this blog, too – I’ve put up a lot of writing tips and techniques over the years.

Writing well? Sure. One of the conceits of NaNoWriMo is that anything blurted out in a month will always only be ‘first draft’ – the intent is to get people writing as much as anything else.

I disagree. I think that with the right amount of pre-work and planning, it’s possible to write something good in that time. That’s right – 50,000 quality words. In thirty days.

Stick around. I’ll show you. I’ve got regular posts lined up about how to do it, inspirational posts to spur your thinking, and more. Watch this space.

Copyright © Matthew Wright 2014

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8 thoughts on “It’s NaNoWriMo time again – and here’s the deal

  1. Great stuff Matthew. I love the challenge of Nanowrimo, but doesn’t it come at the worst time of year for NZ! Right in the thick of the pre-Christmas, winding up for the holidays rush. But hey, might as well make it a real challenge, eh?


    1. Absolutely. Actually, I never did quite ‘get’ the way that the world has to end in New Zealand ready for 25 December… NaNo always comes at the worst time for me, anyway… I inevitably have publisher deadlines around November. This year I don’t, but I have a lot of promotional stuff to do plus some other adventures, so I’m gonna have to cheer-lead from the sides (again).


  2. Awesome stuff, I’ll be sure to come check out your posts as they arrive! I did camp NaNo in July so I know I can hammer out 50,000 words in a month. As you said, it’s possible to get 50,000 quality words in a month. I know for a fact not all of my word count from July were of the greatest quality, so that’s a place to improve. 🙂


    1. Thank you for the follows. Look forward to your visits. I’m starting this weekend. What I’m envisaging is a regular schedule for the NaNo period – something like:

      Friday – inspirational photo
      Saturday – essential writing skills
      Sunday – inspirational photo
      Monday – more essential writing skills
      Wednesday – a post on writing but possibly something else (surprise).

      I might add something else on Tuesdays and Thursdays – not sure yet.

      Good luck with NaNo, and all strength to your writing arm!


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