Win NaNoWriMo-Part 1 f 4: Budget Time
National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) takes place each November. The challenge of writing 50,000+ words in 30 days can advance storytelling talent from hobby to vocation. Professional writers can build speed, endurance, focus and flash troubleshooting skills.
NaNoWriMo requires typing an average of eight, double-spaced pages every day. When I have won this contest (either during November or some other time), I average eighteen out of the 30 days, with word counts ranging from 200 to 8,000 words in a day.
Whatever the approach, one key to winning NaNoWriMo is to learn how much time you need to write 167 words. In NaNoWriMo, 167 words must be written ten times a day to keep the daily average.
To figure your output:
- Settle yourself at a writing space and ask yourself: What if?
- Set a timer for ten minutes.
- Start the timer and write whatever pops into your head with no backing up and always writing forward, left to write, down the page, nonstop until the timer dings.
- Count the words.
- Repeat this timed writing about eight times, always trying to outdo the last word count.
- Figure the average words produced in ten minutes. (Add the 8 or so word counts; then divide by the number of timed writings.)
- Divide the average words produced into 1,667 (the daily minimum). Example: If the average from eight, 10-minute writings is 167 words; then ten 10-minutes writing sessions (or about two hours) would be required each day, or about 14 hours a week.
Thinking, processing, planning and some post-writing adjustments help the process and add time that should be budgeted to both reach the word count goals and be satisfied with the words written.
Essentially, about 20 hours a week should be budgeted. To win NaNoWriMo, writing a novel becomes a part-time job. Perhaps writing better and more has always been a goal, and NaNoWriMo provides the motivation and opportunity.
Start budgeting! Write On!
First Published Autumn, 2014 at