How to Write a Novel in 30 Days (or the First Draft, at least!)

Just staring at the number – 70,000 – astounds me. How did I manage to write that many words in 30 days?

One word. Nanowrimo. I honestly couldn’t have done it without the framework built by Nanowrimo (See: Eight things I love about Nanowrimo). It is an annual gathering of professional and first-time novelists every November with the aim of writing at least 50,000 words in a month (the view being ‘The Great Gatsby’ is around the 50,000 word mark, for example).

But how. How? There were a few things I did specifically for the project to get the novel over the line. Here they are:
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Eight reasons to love Nanowrimo

NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month. It started in the U.S. but was such a great idea it was adopted globally. The goal is to write the first draft of your novel by writing at least 50,000 words in the month of November. That’s at least 1,677 words a day.

Sounds pretty tough but there are many reasons why Nanowrimo succeeded where others have failed. Here are eight:
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Day 11: Getting stuck (Nanowrimo update)

I knew it was going to happen but I didn’t know that it was going to be on the 11th day.

This morning I was up at 4am thinking about the main character arc. The central theme. The main plot. How I can keep the reader’s attention from start to finish. It’s not easy. I don’t even know how I can sustain my attention over 50,000 words, let alone someone else’s. On the first draft, there is no way.
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Day 8: Random happenings that spark my creativity

Written on the bus home last night

I did not want to go for a run. I started my day at 6.30am and I would have rather gone to bed and got dinner. But I know that this is my daily struggle – every day is a choice. I told myself maybe if I can just get myself to the gym then from the gym maybe I can get myself to change and maybe … by the time I turned on my iPod I was rearing to go.
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Day 6: Be Careful What You Wish For

I am now writing Chapters 9 and 10, which I’m devoting to my character’s unplanned trip to New York.

This would sound glamorous and fun any other time in New York’s history except this was the 1930s. It was the Great Depression and my character, who came from a wealthy family back in the Philippines, was reduced to selling cigarettes on trains just to survive.
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