Each year, NaNoWriMo challenges writers to produce 50,000 new words through the month of November, but that challenge can be tough even for veteran writers, let alone someone trying to write their first novel.
But have no fear. NaNoWriMo organizers offer forums and workshops called “write-ins” to help writers begin the process.
Jill DeFelice will be hosting a couple write-in events at Tuckerton Seaport in Ocean County, including one on the first night of NaNoWriMo.
DeFelice has participated in NaNoWriMo for four years. She said she completed all 50,000 words last year but said she has come up short in the past.
“My first one I was totally unprepared and I only completed 17,000 words, and only 14,000 ever made it into my first draft,” said DeFelice, of Tuckerton.
This year, DeFelice will be contributing her 50,000 words toward the second revision of her very first NaNoWriMo novel.
Though she didn’t reach her goal her first year, she said that NaNoWriMo helped her get in the right mindset to think about how she wanted to write.
DeFelice has learned over the years what writing rituals work for her. She needs to be out of her house (or she’ll get distracted,) and there needs to be a big pot of coffee wherever she decides to go.
She sees most writers who have tried the challenge will come with a skeleton for a story, and she recommends that new writers just start with an idea and go from there.
Whether you’re a seasoned writer or a NaNoWriMo rookie, DeFelice said it’s all about the commitment.
“Most of what you write for NaNoWriMo you probably won’t keep,” she said, “but it’s the kernels and brainstorming process for that month that is so intense that it’ll become parts of your writing after the month.”