Adapting NaNoWriMo to suit your writing

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If you have considered writing, or you spend time on social media, then you are bound to have heard of NaNoWriMo. Every November is designated National Novel Writing Month for us wordsmiths, the aim being to crank out 50,000 words of a fiction novel in 30 days.

 

Over time, NaNoWriMo has evolved from developing a short novella in 30 days to having the first 50,000 words of a longer novel. Or of a non-fiction book. Or a collection of short stories. Poetry became so popular they have their own month (April). I haven’t ever properly participated in NaNo, but last year I chose to adapt it for my own purposes. A wonderful online community springs up every November, and a casual search of #NaNoWriMo on twitter brings up a virtual room filled with every agony, ecstasy and support for writers.

 

Last Autumn I was building up my work on content mill-style sites. Each day I would log in, search the available work, and shy away from anything that was too long, that I’d need to research, that wasn’t absolutely perfect. I was doing well, but there was so much more work on there I could be doing if only I stretched myself a little bit. So I printed off a blank calendar for November 2015 and sat down to think about comfortable word counts.

 

A good target should present a challenge but not be impossible. Setting yourself up to fail is a bit counterproductive. I decided that 50,000 words was far too much, especially as I was relying on other people to post work opportunities. I settled on 700 words a day, or 21,000 for the month. I ended November with a grand total of 19,647 words and a healthier bank balance.

 

This year, I’m building up my writing business (you can hire me, if you want). I need to apply for freelance gigs but I get nervy and fed-up. NaNo will provide the push I need. Although I’m once again relying on what other people post, I’ve decided to stick to the ’50 in 30′ concept and set a target of 50 applications. This can include applying to online marketplaces for future work, freelance gigs and the occasional non-paid writing opportunity, if I think it will enhance my portfolio.

 

So, I’ve got 50 jobs to apply for 30 days. How are you going to adapt NaNoWriMo to work for you?

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