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7 Tools for NaNoWriMo and the Rest of Your Writing Life

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That’s right! It’s November 1st, which means NaNoWriMo 2013 starts today. We’ve done a little foraging for web resources that will help you meet your writing goals this month. In our list of resources below, you’ll find advice, inspiration and programs to give you some structure for your novel and writing schedule. And everything we’ve listed is free.

Now Novel This site will walk you through the steps of discovering and laying out your story’s mood, central idea, theme, type, plot characters and setting. Create a free account to watch instructional videos and answer questions designed to get you thinking about your story. Search the web for images that will help you visually outline your novel. Then print out your story blueprint to refer to as you write. (There is a paid version of this site, too. We recommended it anyway because the free section is so helpful on its own.)

How to Write a Book in 30 Days Here you’ll find a 30 day schedule that allots a certain number of days for different tasks, such as creating your preliminary outline, researching and revising. Even if you don’t want to use the suggested schedule, the articles will help you get through different points in your writing process.

Daily Writing Tips Visit every day this month to get quick tips on grammar, mechanics and style. You can also search for answers to specific questions. You’ll find everything from advice on visually distracting phrases to rules on hyphenation.

yWriter Recommended in K. M. Weiland’s Outlining Your Novel:Map Your Way to Success, yWriter is a word processing tool that you can download. It is a place to write that helps you keep track of scenes and chapters, characters and locations – the parts of your story that can end up so numerous and complex they get difficult to keep in mind as you write your way to the 50,000 word NaNoWriMo finish line. It even has a storyboarding capability and allows you to make printable scene cards.

Writing Prompts Having trouble coming up with an idea or getting your creative juices flowing? Look through these meme-ish writing prompts and see what sparks your imagination. If nothing “sparks,” just pick one and start writing. Sometimes the only way to start writing is to start writing – even if you don’t have anything to say yet.

How to Write a Novel in 30 Days We recommend saving this for when you’ve lost that initial burst of confidence and excitement. This blog post by Catherynne Valente is instructive, but not just that. It’s light and funny, to pick you up out of your boo-hoos, and this bit of information is very motivational:

I did Nanowrimo in 2002. … I clocked in at a lot less than 30 days. The result? The beginning of my career and how I met Jeff [VanderMeer].

DIY MFA Now that you’re a writer, a 30-day guide isn’t enough. Download their free workbook that will guide you in getting started with a combination of writing, purposeful reading and community. Browse through their articles for loads of advice and inspiration as you continue your journey as an autodidact writer.

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