In just under two months, NaNoWriMo 2014 will begin. Some people don't plan anything, expecting to roll into November and just get their novels done. This works for some people!
Others need help preparing for NaNoWriMo, so they won't be setting themselves up for failure. Building a writing habit without causing burnout is a key strategy for succeeding at NaNoWriMo. There are many ways you can build a writing habit, but before I get into them, I want to go into the benefits of creating such a habit.
NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, is a writing marathon. The goal is to finish a novel within 30 days. In order to do that, you need to sit down every day and work–and work hard. While professional writers often benchmark at least 2,000 words a day (some are slower, some are faster) those who are more casual writers struggle with producing words each day.
And when you aren't used to writing, it's difficult to make words appear on a blank page. Where does one begin a story? How does one create a character? How does one string together words to create legible sentences?
These questions are little murderers, especially when it comes to those who aren't in the habit of writing.
If the idea of writing every day intimidates you, I want to challenge you until November. Each day, write a single sentence. That's it, that's all. Write one sentence. If you feel inspired to write more, do it–but every day, sit down and work until you've written one sentence.
If writing that one sentence becomes easy, change your goal. Every day, write two sentences.
If you're serious, and are sitting down each day, you'll form the habit of writing. Sure, it'll only be one, two, or maybe three sentences a day, but for each day you're successful at writing that single little sentence, the easier it'll become the next day, until there comes a point when you can't remember the last time you hadn't wrote a sentence each and every day.
One sentence doesn't seem like much, but it's a cure for the blank page–and the gateway to a novel being written.
After all, a novel is nothing more than words put into a string until a story has been written.
One sentence a day will not fully prepare you for writing the daily word count for NaNoWriMo. But it is a start, especially if you're worried about whether or not you can write every day.
This year, I'll be transcribing the entirety of Storm Surge onto my computer. What I have now is a very thorough, handwritten outline. It'll become a novel in November. My goal is to transcribe the entire novel, start to finish, in the 30 days.
Wish me luck. I'll need it. (I'm targetting approximately 125,000 words for Storm Surge.)
What will you be writing this year? Will you be building a writing habit before November? Do you already have a writing habit? If so, how did you build it?
Good luck, writers!