Tips & Resources for National Novel Writing Month

An open journal sits on a worn wooden desk, a diary is open on top where a light skinned person wearing a beige long sleeve top writes with a fountain pen

National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo brings together a global writing community for the month of November. The goal is to write 50,000 words in only 30 days - a big goal! With such a big goal writers might need help. Here are our top tips, and collection of resources for people looking to participate in NaNoWriMo, and to improve their writing.

1. Plan and Outline the Story

Set aside time to plan an outline for your novel. An outline helps you answer the big questions your novel will pose, get to know your characters, and keep your story focused.  When you've mapped out your settings, characters, plot, and scenes it will seem more manageable to start writing scene by scene.

This process can be time consuming, but will help in keeping you on track and focused!

2. Research

Take the time to research what you are writing about! Are you writing about history? A different city? Food? All writing benefits from researching. Research can seem intimidating, but after you write the outline you may have some questions that you need answered. You may also want to research writing techniques and styles, check out our reading list below for some great picks!

3.  Set Aside Writing Time Every Day

Creating a writing routine will help you meet your goal of 1,600 words per day over thirty days. Whether you're participating to write a novel, or to make creative writing part of your routine, picking and doing your best to stick to a time will help make a solid foundation. 1,600 words can take different amounts of time for different people so give yourself time where you can to write what you can. 

4. Take Chances, Make Mistakes, and Get Messy!

Remember that this exercise is for fun! The goal isn't to create a perfect publishable novel, but to create an outline, start a writing practice, or explore questions and characters. Whatever you write is something to be proud of. Writing is challenging work!

5. Share your writing with others

After NaNoWriMo is over, share your writing with friends, family, and your community. Share parts of your work through Markham Public Library's monthly Storyteller's Meet Up where participants can meet with other writers, share feedback, and receive feedback on writing pieces.  Sharing writing helps us learn new techniques, create community, and improve our own writing as well.  

Whether you are writing a novel, a collection of short stories, creative non-fiction, memoir, or a biography of something else enjoy the journey of writing, what there is to learn about ourselves and the world around us, and aim to achieve your writing goals for National Novel Writing Month!

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