Challenge : Deadlines
NANOWRIMO, the National Novel Writing Month, is the internationally infamous writing challenge to churn out 50,000 words in a month, and writers do it with deadlines.
This yearly challenge is the opportunity to create a new life for ourselves, a writing life. NANOWRIMO is a time to stop thinking of writing as a hobby and resolve to turn it into a profession, to create a New Advent.
WHO Needs to Participate?
The challenge provides a great exercise for all writers. We should participate at least once in our writing life. If we feel burned out, the white-hot drive of creativity will recharge us—after it drains us. For the total newbies, NANOWRIMO forces us to work past what we think is our stopping point and teaches us how to do that.
This opportunity is especially helpful to writers stuck between hobby and job. It’s not limited to fiction; bloggers can benefit. Through constant deadlines we must push to achieve, we learn self-discipline. NANOWRIMO also touches on the many areas needed when writing stories.
WHERE to Start?
Consider these 4.
- Characters :: get to know the primaries. How are they going to collide?
- Situation :: understand the remote and near causes and effects of major events.
- Plot :: How will you pace the story? Many writers talk about scenes and segues or the III-Act structure. Basically, you should know the start and the end and 5 twists between (Plot 7). These will get you going.
- Research :: Special settings. Special elements (steam machines, zeppelins, etc). Know how the things work.
If you haven’t done any of this, if you don’t even have a story prepped, just start writing and go. As scenes develop, put them where they need to be in the sequence. This sounds like the free-est possibility of all. Make yourself have a deadline of the Plot 7 by the tenth of the month.
WHAT to Do?
The continuation of this original blog post from 10 November 2016 can be found in the publication Think Like a Writer: 7 Tips to Change a Hobby to a Profession, by M. A. Lee.