I’ve technically done Nanowrimo (or National Novel Writing Month) three times now. I’ve “won” it twice. Last year I intended to be a nano rebel and do a short story a day for the month until my brain got hijacked by insomnia. This year I’m going for a hybrid of sorts. I’m going to write a 45-55k novel and also aim to complete 11 short stories. I predict this will be 90-100k words this month.
There are many conflicting opinions about NaNoWriMo. Some seem to feel that it encourages bad writing, and for people to try to publish bad writing in the after months (I’ve even seen some agent blogs complaining that they get nano novels in December and how annoying that is). My personal opinion is that NaNo is what you make of it. If you want to write a crazy book that is full of in-jokes, word and plot prompts, and probably something only your mother will love, go ahead. I don’t care. Doesn’t bug me a bit. Writing is fun, or I wouldn’t be doing it.
If you want to write a novel with the goal for publication? Do that. Is it possible to write 50,000+ good words in a month? Hell yes. In fact, many professional writers do it all the time. It’s simple to do if you carve out the writing time. Here, I’ll do the math for my own plans:
11 short stories: word count on this will vary. I’m aiming for between 2500 and 7500 words per story. A 7500 word story takes me generally 6-9 hours to write (depending on multiple factors like plotting, research, etc). Most of my stories tend to fall in the 4-5k word range, so we’ll say 55,000 words from shorts. That’s about 55-60 hours of writing at my usual pace.
Then the novel. I’m going for 45-55k words, which is a short novel. But this novel isn’t going to be shopped to traditional publishing. It’s going to be e-pubbed (after first readers and a professional editor see it, of course. I wouldn’t put a rough draft up for sale, clearly). My natural length for novels is fairly short, so I think this is a good length and a pace I can keep up for four books a year. The novel will likely take about 70 hours of work (I’ve done a lot of world-building and pre-planning over the last year, so now what’s left is to write the damn thing).
70+60=130 hours of work in a month. 130/30= 4.3333333 hours a day. That’s right. A bit over four hours a day. When was the last time you worked a four hour day? Writing is my sole source of employment, so there’s really no reason I can’t put four hours a day into it. My actual plan is to put six or seven hours a day in on weekdays and whatever I can fit in on weekends. November is full of weddings, baptisms, parties, Thanksgiving, etc for me, so I know I won’t be able to find hours every single day. Hence the over-writing on some days so I can have slack time for when things come up (because when in life don’t things come up, right?).
So that’s my NaNoWriMo plan. I’m on the nanowrimo.org website under “izanobu” if anyone is doing it and wants to be buddies there (progress bars are fun!).
Good luck to everyone going along on the fun of NaNo!