Today we are taking a break from my usual astrology content to discuss the major writing event: NaNoWriMo! We will discuss how the event works and what to consider before participating. Read on to learn how I won my first NaNoWriMo and how you can too!
Welcome to Ramstrology, the astrology blog written by Aries Ram, C. M. Ramsburg! Ramstrology delves into various Zodiac systems to highlight their diverse cultural influences. In this blog series, you'll learn about the 12 western signs and receive an exclusive look at the 12 Zodiac Keepers featured in C. M. Ramsburg's YA Fantasy, SON OF THE SUN.
What is NaNoWriMo?
NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and it is held every November. NaNoWriMo is a writing challenge to start and finish a brand-new novel, writing at least 50,000 words in 30 days, in the month of November. There are no prerequisites or requirements to join the month-long challenge and it is free for participants. NaNoWriMo is a nonprofit that offers free resources, sessions, and tools during the challenge. They also have merchandise for sale, like the exclusive shirt I am wearing later in this article. This community of writers is large and diverse, spanning the entire globe. Many famous novels got their start as NaNoWriMo novels. You can learn more about the event and other writing challenges on their official website.
"Write 50,000 words or more in the month of November for National Novel Writing Month!"
Advice for Future Participants
My first piece of advice for writers: PARTICIPATE! I don't know anyone who regretted taking part in NaNoWriMo. This event was the perfect motivation for me to finish my second novel in a timely fashion. Not everyone wins or makes it to the steep 50,000-word goal, but even if you fall short of the goal, any number of words is better than no words. Every word is a step closer toward a finished product. Everyone who participates is a winner in my book!
The key to a successful month is to be kind to yourself and know your limits. You are going to have off-days where it feels nearly impossible to write, so plan accordingly. On days where you have more time or feel more inspired, write as much as you can to make up for these off-days. Pace yourself to avoid getting overwhelmed all at once. I suffered from severe headaches from November 19-21 because I was writing too much and too often, which forced me to slow down for several days. I also experienced writer's fatigue throughout the month where I felt waves of exhaustion, but that is nearly unavoidable during marathon writing. Allow yourself extended breaks off-screen to give your mind and eyes a rest.
If you want to stay on schedule, avoid editing during the month of November. This event is about creating a new novel from the ground up, so keep forward progress and get the first draft down on paper. You can always edit at a later time. You should also avoid comparing your word count to other writers who may be further along than you. However, finding a group of writers who are also participating in the event can encourage you to keep going. Most importantly, remember to have fun with the event! Enjoying your new project will keep those creative juices flowing.
"The key to a successful month is to be kind to yourself and know your limits."
My Milestones and Stats
NaNoWriMo rewards writers for hitting milestones and staying on track with their word counts during the month. Writers earn badges to encourage writing consistency and success. I was fortunate to be awarded every major badge. Luckily, NaNoWriMo has a stats page that tracks your writing sessions and word counts for you. I had the highest daily word count on the first day of the event, November 1st, with 6,317 words. My lowest daily word count was on, you guessed it, Thanksgiving when I only wrote 716 words. I achieved the winning count of 50,000 words and officially won NaNoWriMo on November 19th, 11 days early. I ended the month with a satisfying 71,832 total word count for November. I am content with the outcome of my first NaNoWriMo event and I can't wait to participate in future events!
Despite winning and surpassing NaNoWriMo, there is still a lot of work to do! For my project, I decided to write the second installment in my astrology-based urban fantasy series. Given the breadth of the story and content, I anticipate my first finished draft of the novel to hover around 100,000 words. I was only able to complete 29 out of 36 chapters in this sequel during November. I will continue my rigorous writing schedule into December until the full draft is completed. I am also looking onward to #PitMad, which is on December 3rd. Given my schedule, I wrote this entire blog post on November 28th in preparation, even though this article does not count toward my NaNoWriMo word count.
"I wrote 71,832 words in my sequel during the month of November. This was my first time participating in NaNoWriMo and I enjoyed every second of it!"
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