November is National Novel Writing Month! For those who aren’t familiar with NaNoWriMo: It’s a global creative writing project that challenges both professionals and amateurs to complete 50,000 words of a new novel between November 1st and 30th.
The goal isn’t to have a complete novel by the end of the month, but rather to have a first draft – something to be edited, refined, and possibly even published.
The first NaNoWriMo took place in July 2009, and has since grown to include hundreds of thousands of participants worldwide.
Where does WordPress come in?
“WordPress was born out of a desire for an elegant, well-architectured personal publishing system…” That’s how the history of WordPress is introduced on the WordPress.org website. It stands to reason, then, that such a purpose would align beautifully with people looking to express themselves through creative writing.
The crew at WordPress.com are getting into it, and so are we!
To kick things off, here are five reasons we think WordPress is a great fit for NaNoWriMo:
1. Everything’s Online
As long as you have an internet connection, you can fire up your WordPress site and get writing. On the go? Use the WordPress app for your mobile device. On a computer without an internet connection? WordPress.com has a list of desktop apps you can use. In the end, everything ends up on your WordPress site.
2. Write Without Distractions
The Distraction-Free Writing mode in WordPress is perfect for NaNoWriMo. By hiding all of the superfluous interface stuff you can focus on the words in front of you. It even keeps track of your word count, so you know how much progress you’re making towards that ominous 50k word goal.
3. Track Your Revisions
An improved revisions interface was introduced earlier this year in WordPress 3.6 “Oscar”, letting you easily compare two versions of a post or page side-by-side. You can quickly scroll through changes to see what was changed, and when.
4. Compose and Promote!
You don’t need to wait for your work to be published to start cultivating a following. In fact, having an audience before you publish is a much better idea. Sean Blanda goes into much more detail in his post Building a Crowd on the Behance 99u blog. (Basically, you should have customers ready to buy your book in advance.)
Get creative with it. You can use categories or pages to separate your chapters, and build up the rest of the site as if it were a regular blog. Encourage visitors to register on the site, and give them a sneak peek at select chapters using a plugin like Members to control access.
5. Publish & Sell Yourself
Not interested in going through the formal publishing route? No problem. The Anthologize plugin will let you easily export content from your WordPress site into PDF, RTF, and ePub formats. Combine that with an e-commerce plugin like WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads to sell your novel directly from your website. Want distribution through more traditional channels? Use a service like Lulu to handle the logistical legwork for you.
Pulling It All Together…
- Create a WordPress site for your novel.
- Use post categories or pages to organize chapters.
- Use the Members plugin to give registered users a “sneak peek” at your work.
- Set up the rest of your WordPress site to promote your novel.
- Ready to publish? Use the Anthologize plugin to export as a PDF or ePub file.
- Sell your novel with an e-commerce plugin like WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads.
- Want to sell your novel through bookstores? Use a service like Lulu.
We’ll be sharing more NaNoWriMo goodies this week to help you get ready for November!