NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, occurs every November and is the perfect time to get over your writing anxiety and just write an entire novel in a month.

Aspiring novelists can often feel overwhelmed by the “bigness” of beginning a novel.  “What do I write about?” they ask. NaNoWriMo attempts to alleviate that question by focusing on word count over prewriting.  The idea is that while writers get hung up on WHAT to write, they could instead be focusing simply on writing.  Chris Baty, the original founder of NaNoWriMo, published a book about his strategies on writing without plot in a book called  “No Plot? No Problem!”

For one month, writers across the country focus not on what should happen in their novel, but instead focus on reaching 50,000 words written in 30 days.  If that still sounds overwhelming, don’t worry. Chris Baty suggests simply starting and letting the plot, characters, setting, theme, etc. follow. If you ascribe to the idea that 90% of writing is revision anyway, as I do, you can picture this exercise as a small first step to the work that will take place after you reach your word count.

The Nanowrimo website works like a social media page with a profile all our own where you can update your word count daily.  You can also connect with fellow writers in your area to challenge one another to “write offs”.  Being held accountable in a “public” online forum is great tool for motivating yourself to write.  There is a wealth of support from other writers on social media and sites like Youtube to use as inspiration and encouragement, as well.

Follow #NaNoWriMo on Twitter for more inspiration and encouragement.