National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) takes place every November. It’s a 30-day sprint to write a 50,000 word novel (that’s 1,667 words a day, in case you’re wondering).
The fast pace and short time frame force participants to set aside their inner editors, push past writer’s block, ignore the fear of failing and get some writing done.
If you’re planning to participate, check out these great books on writing to help you make it through the month.
1. If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland
Ueland published six million words in her 93 years, and she did so by following two simple rules: tell the truth and never do anything you don’t want to do. Whatever your passion, Ueland’s words will inspire, encourage and guide you. Get a copy.
2. On Writing Well by William Zinsser
Zinsser wrote this book for nonfiction, but the principals inside apply to any writing. His lessons on everything from usage to interviews to knowing your audience will lead you to writing better, stronger, more vibrant stories whether they are real or imagined. Get a copy.
3. The New Writer’s Handbook edited by Philip Martin
Time is tight when you’re trying to write a novel in thirty days. You’re going to get stuck at some point. You’re going to need guidance. However, you might not have time to read a whole tome on writing. This collection of short essays on a wide range of topics can help you overcome your problems without setting you back on your word count. Get a copy.
4. Will Write for Shoes by Cathy Yardley
Yardley is known for her “chick lit” and romance novels, and her book on writing is aimed at the chick lit genre. While the book contains a little bit of genre-specific content, most of the lessons and writing exercises apply to any genre. She covers structure, point of view, research, revisions and even publishing help. Get a copy.
5. Poemcrazy by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge
Wooldridge might focus on poetry here, but don’t think it doesn’t apply to a month of frantic noveling. This book contains poetic anecdotes, inspiring writing strategies and practice assignments that will make you fall in love with the act of placing one word after another. It’s the perfect pick-me-up when you feel as though you will never be able to write another decent word. Get a copy.
6. How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card
Again, this is a genre-driven book with wide-reaching advice. Card takes readers on a journey through world-building, story construction, writing rules and publishing tips. The specific examples may focus on the fantastical, futuristic and far out, but advice is accessible and applicable to any type of writing. Get a copy.