NaNoWriMo! The worldwide initiative to motivate us toward writing a 50,000 word draft during the month of November. It's free to sign up, and the prize for finishing is having created a draft of a book. I hear people say, "I have an idea for a book!" So, where is the book? As the wise and funny author Maureen Johnson once said: There is no idea for Book. There is only Book.
You must write the book.
So, write the book!
This was my revelation a few years ago, which thankfully came to me just in time for National Novel Writing Month, which a friend told me about. So I did it. I finished. The draft was a hot mess that I spent many months revising, and eventually shelved, but I DID IT. It showed me I could write a novel.
Here's the thing. It really does help to plan a little. Sitting down to start page 1 with no plan is risky. It's fun at first:
But a point comes along where either the story gets weird (wacky plot twists) or your plot doesn't have enough juice to make it to 50k.
It is. But! The best part of signing up for the challenge is the online support. The NaNo website is pretty detailed with lots of articles, motivating posts, and tips for a successful experience. The forums are active right now, hop over and poke around, maybe get a few questions answered.
Depending on your region, you might also have in-person events scheduled by generous writers in your area. My suburban Chicago are has a very active group that plans pre-planning workshops, a potluck this month, and write-ins at area coffee houses in November. I have not met up with the group in previous years, but would like to this year.
Not that the support guarantees success. Only YOU can sit down and hash it out every day. It's not easy, but that's why so many people have ideas for books. The idea is not a book until you write it.
Are you doing NaNoWriMo? Why or why not? Are you a planner or do you write by the seat of your pants?