How to Write a Novel in 30 Days

Ladies and gentlemen, I wrote a book.


Okay, so it isn’t going to be appearing on the Best Sellers list anytime soon, especially since I only have one copy of it, but I did it. I got the idea last summer when I was watching a TED Talk about how you should try something new for 30 days. (Need inspiration? Watch it here) Matt Cutts, the speaker, mentions that each November people participate in the National Novel Writing Month where participants write a novel and log their word count to complete a 50,000 word novel. That is when the idea planted itself in my mind. Being a teacher I am always telling students that they can’t get better at things that they don’t do so I took my own advice. I signed up for an account on the National Novel Writing Month website and gave it a shot.

  1. Talk yourself out of it. Then talk yourself back into it.– I will admit that I came up with every reason why I wouldn’t want to commit to doing this. It was going to be too much work and too much time. I even waited a week before telling anyone I had started. My boyfriend only found out because he noticed that I was spending a lot of time on the computer typing away opposed to watching TV and I had to explain to my friends why I was late to dinner, especially because I’m the one that is always on time. But when I finally told people, that made it real and I couldn’t back out then.
  2. Don’t have too much of a plan.– I had a brief idea of what I wanted to write about and where I wanted the story to go. I knew that I was going to take experiences from my travels and turn it into a story. And to fill in the holes, I used inspiration from the day. When I look back at it now I remember what lead certain events to happen in the story because that was something that happened to me on that certain day.
  3. Write when you are inspired. -I always had at least a few scraps of paper with me, if not a little notebook. Sometimes I would have downtime for just a few minutes and I would come up with an idea to add in or sometimes I would come up with a whole chapter.
  4. Write when you are not inspired.-To be honest, I’m not that creative. I cannot fathom coming up with a science fiction story where the places and beings are completely made up. So, I just wrote. I told myself it didn’t have to be great, it just had to be done and I could fix it later in editing.
  5. As the days go on, you’ll look back and see how far you’ve come.– There are very few instances in life where you can see your personal growth. Sure, you can look at baby pictures or high school graduation photos but those are over the course of years. When you write a novel in a month, you see your growth throughout the days! When I would take some time to edit the story, I would reflect on what caused the characters to do certain things and I was able to groom the plot and add in additional details. I certainly didn’t think my novel would become that complex in just a few weeks.
  6. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. There were days when I did sprints and others when I spent so many hours sitting and typing my butt started to hurt. There were times I was confused or just plain bored with my story. But I learned that if I set a timer for 20 minutes that somehow leads to 500 words. And that if I set the expectation for myself to finish what I started out to do, I’ll do it. Writing a novel in 30 days says less about the story and more about the writer. Doing a lot of work in a short amount of time is impressive and the sense of accomplishment is more rewarding than anything else.

So, are you up for the challenge? If so, sign up at this link. Happy writing!

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