Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? Want to “win”? Here are 10 tips to consider:
1. Create a story plan before November 1. Whether it’s just a paragraph, or a detailed outline, it helps to know what you’ll be writing about instead of wasting time staring at a blank page.
2. Set a daily writing goal. NaNo has a goal of 1,667 words a day. I always set mine to an even 2,000. This way, I’m always ahead, even on days when the words aren’t coming.
3. Create a routine. Set your writing time at the same time every day. For me, that’s 5-7 a.m. every morning. Sometimes I throw in a few lunch breaks and evenings, but those early hour mornings are when my writing muscle knows it’s time to get down to business.
4. Connect on the NaNoWriMo forums. It’s motivating to know a bunch of other people who are going through the same thing you are.
5. Attend a write-in. These are NaNo meetups, usually at coffee shops or bookstores, where everyone hangs out, glued to their computer screen. It’s awesome! For one, it’s nice to put faces to the people you’ve been chatting with on the NaNo boards. And two, it’s powerfully motivating to be surrounded by the clacking of keys.
6. Don’t look back. EVER. Once you’ve written something, leave it. Don’t re-read it. Don’t edit. Just let it be. If you think of something you want to change, make a note so you won’t forget when you edit in December (or whatever month you edit after November). But just keep moving forward.
7. At the end of each writing session, leave yourself a note about where you’re going on the story. This helps you pick up where you left off easily.
8. There is magic around Day 10. This is when the story starts writing itself.
9. You’re going to have slushy days, when the words are just not coming easily. I’ve found that if I just get my characters to talk with each other, they usually come up with the next scene on their own. If that doesn’t work, throw a scene-changing wrench in the story. Have ninjas swoop in and steal the main character’s love interest. Create a pink elephant that charges through the storyline. Drop a steep cliff on the path they’re headed on. Give them something to struggle about. Do whatever it takes to get you through your daily word count to ensure you don’t fall behind.
10. Don’t take yourself too seriously. What you’re writing could be totally awesome. It can also be total crap. Who cares? You’re developing your writing muscle. Don’t worry about the quality of your writing until you get to the editing stage. For now, just have fun with it, and know that in 30 days, you’ll be able to say you’ve written a novel.
P.S. By my NaNoWriMo buddy at nanowrimo.org/participants/crissi.
- NaNoWriMo 2013: Want to Write a Novel? (elisajosephine.wordpress.com)
- NaNoWriMo tips – dealing with deadlines (jenspenden.wordpress.com)
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- 22 Reasons You Should Participate in NaNoWriMo (aspiringwriter22.wordpress.com)
- NaNoWriMo 2013: Want to Write a Novel? (sophieraduggan.wordpress.com)