It’s that time of the year when the air is crisp, roads are lined with a gorgeous flaming foliage, and writers worldwide prepare to be thrust into the hellish adrenaline rush of National Novel Writing Month, affectionately referred to as NaNoWriMo.
30 days of scraping every single spare moment to reach the NaNoWriMo goal of 50,000 words.
What? You think this doesn’t sound like that big of a deal? Did you miss my reference to hell?
My friends, we’re talking about a brand spanking new manuscript. A novel the writer has done nothing more than (hopefully) plotted out. When November 1st hits, writers everywhere glue their fingers to the keyboard and create the very first sentence that will lead them on a journey to fill over 100 typed pages. 100 pages! When was the last time you heard a student complain because he had to write a 10 page report in three weeks? They are wimps compared to the awesomeness of NaNoWriMo competitors.
But . . . but. . . . but . . .
No excuses! You CAN do this! And over the next few weeks, I’m going to blog about HOW you can reach, conquer, and surpass the NaNoWriMo 50K goal. Now, repeat after me:
I AM A WRITER!
MY SPEEDY FINGERS CAN CREATE NOVEL WRITING MAGIC!
I WILL ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE!
Now get your mouse over here and click on this link to sign up for NaNoWriMo!
There are a few important things you need to do while you’re on the NaNoWriMo site:
- TIME ZONE: Under the tab “My NaNoWriMo”, go to “Edit User Settings”. It’s very important that you set your Time Zone. If you don’t set it correctly, it can totally backfire on you. Especially if you’re in the final hour of NaNoWriMo and finally hit your 50K goal, then go to verify your win on the official website . . . and you realize you put in your time zone wrong and your account is closed. I know people who’ve had this happen and it’s major, major suckage. So do it now, do it right, and then you can do the Happy Happy Dance and claim all your fabulous prizes at the end of the month.
- YOUR REGION: “Set My Home Region”. Here you can choose the region closest to you and join. There are a couple of reasons to do this. It’s fun to see how many writers are in your area. You can also track how many words your area has written compared to other areas. The best part is your region sets up Write Ins. These are locations where the region captains have talked with businesses, libraries, etc to set up times for NaNoWriMo participants to come together. There’s quiet writing time, a bit of socializing and – my favorite part – writing sprints! Last year, my goal was to attend two Write Ins each week – and they were totally worth it!
- NOTIFICATIONS: Under the tab “My NaNoWriMo”, go to “Set My Notifications”. The automatic settings have you unsubscribed to all notifications. I recommend that you subscribe to the Prep Talks, NaNo Videos, and your region emails.
There are some fun things you can do while on your NaNoWriMo account, too. You can fill out your author info, give a blurb about your book, and connect with other Writing Buddies. Towards the end of October, check out the Fun Stuff tab. There you’ll find updated badges to post on your blog or website, a word count widget, and other great stuff.
Update from NaNoWriMo website:
Drumroll please…. On October 7 at 10 AM Pacific, we are merging the user databases of the old and new websites in preparation for Monday’s launch. (Ten Ten! Fist pump!)
That is a fancy way of saying that if you update your profile, novel info, or user settings after 10 AM Pacific on Friday, your changes won’t show up when the site launches on Monday.
So, if you haven’t signed up for NaNoWriMo yet, wait until Monday morning. Be sure to put it on your phone’s calendar, sticky note attached to your monitor, or whatever works best for you to remember to get it done! =)
GO NANOWRIMO 2011!
Danyelle Ferguson is the author of (dis)Abilities and the Gospel: How to Bring People with Special Needs Closer to Christ. She’s also a public speaker to churches and disability groups, freelance editor and book reviewer. She lives in Kansas with her hubby and four angels-in-training. For more information, you can check out her blog (www.QueenOfTheClan.com) or her website (www.DanyelleFerguson.com).
3 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo: It’s Time to Step Up and Accept the Challenge by Danyelle Ferguson”
Once again, thanks for the heads up on the time zone thing. I'd never even considered that.
Great post. I'm hosting a NaNoWriMo contest on my blog to help people get motivated. (www.writermike.com) I'm very excited to get started.
I did nano last year, but I've learned that I write the first draft fast no matter what, and with a deadline looming, I do nothing but write until I hit that magic 50,000.
I will be TOTALLY rooting people on, though. And I think it's way fun!!
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