There is really only one rule for NaNoWriMo: write 50,000 words in 30 days.
The rest is sort of nebulous, like a floating blob of guidelines that only loosely apply on a novel by novel basis. I mean, you’re not supposed to write anything before November 1. You’re not supposed to write anything you’ve had in the hopper for a while, and you’re not supposed finish anything you started a while back, and you’re not supposed to drink beer in the morning.
But these are all just suggestions really. Chris Baty isn’t going to come to your house and beat you over the head with a bag full of gerunds if you break any of the “rules.” It’s your month of writing, so I say: do whatever the hell you feel like doing.
Sure, it’s National Novel Writing Month, but if you want to write nonfiction – go for it! You want to write short stories instead of a novel? You better believe I endorse that idea. You want to finish a novel you started in college? By all means. Hell you can even just write one, 50,000 word long sentence if that’s what does it for you.
NaNo is a catalyst, a reason, a scripted event, that has one ultimate goal for us as writers: get words down on the page.
That’s it. No other secret, subtext, or hidden message for us to decipher. Just a thing that makes us write, and write a lot.
So, if you were being sheepish about NaNo because you thought you’d have to flout the rules and ruin the entire spirit of the thing, don’t sweat it. If you want to write, write. Use NaNo as a booster shot to your literary immune system.
I, for example, have been feverishly planning. If I’m going to spend 30 days writing my hands off, I feel like I should put that energy to good use.
I’ve got a traditional outline, but I also did something I’ve never done before, which turned out to be a shit load of fun.
I made a map of the world of my novel.
What are you doing to prepare for NaNo, as per the rules, or not?