It’s right in the name, National Novel Writing Month, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t use the energy and community set up in November to make some serious progress on your writing. Sometimes writing a novel from page one isn’t the most effective or doable project to work on during NaNo. Don’t let that stop you from participating in this amazing community. Here are a few ideas of alternate projects to work on during NaNo that don’t have to end with a first draft 50,000 word novel.
I regularly use NaNo as a way to make a dent in the editing of my latest project. I edit to a deadline much better than on my own and I’ve found starting with a project that I want to improve is a great way to spend NaNo. In terms of updating your word count, You could follow the standard 8.5×11 page with one inch margins, 12pt Times New Roman having roughly 300 words per page and then edit about 5.5 pages every day in order to reach that 50,000 word goal.
2. Continue a Started Novel
I’ve never written a novel that is finished in 50,000 words. Continuing with a story and working to add 50,000 words to a started draft is another great way to participate in NaNoWriMo. I know people who will work on the same novel over multiple years. Just because you are writing 50,000 words, doesn’t mean those words have to be a part of a new story every time November rolls around.
3. Write in a Different Form
Despite the name of the month, you don’t have to work on a novel during November. You can just as easily work on a different project. Perhaps an anthology of short stories, a memoir, creative nonfiction, or poetry. One NaNo I wrote a season’s worth of TV episodes. The goal is to write more and however you are best able to do that, I say go for it! Writing isn’t limited to novel writing, so why should NaNo be?
4. Combine Several Projects
This is what I will be attempting this year. I don’t have the time to dedicate writing 50,000 words of one project, but I have enough papers and projects started that over the course of the month I plan to write 50,000 new words. For this NaNo I will be combining the words written for my classes, my creative nonfiction, my blog posts and I will continue working on my pirate WIP. All these things together will hopefully amount to 50,000 words by the end of November.
Are you planning on participating in NaNoWriMo this November? What will you be working on?