That’s write, people (badum-tsh, get it?) it’s that time of the year again. If you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, shame on you! Just kidding. Head over to their website and check it out. Basically, you have to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. This will be my fifth year doing it and hopefully my third win! Life has dealt me some blows in the last few weeks but there’s nothing like writing to soothe the soul, so I’m all in. I thought I would start us off with some tips for before, during, and after. Feel free to add more tips in the comments, or give a holler if you’re doing it this year! Friends and motivators are key this month.
1. Sign up! Of course you can just do it on your own, but it’s much better to have that empty word count bar staring at you.
2. Get acquainted with the forums. Newbies, vets, and NaNo heroes, we’re all there to help each other and encourage each other when the month gets tough.
3. Set your home region after you sign up. Most cities have meet-ups throughout the month, which is great!
4. Set your goal and make it public. The minimum is 50k, but a lot of people go for more. Some famous NaNoers go for 1 million every year, and they’re kind of amazing. Tell the people around you and tell other NaNoers.
1. Have a buffer. In other words: when you have more time/are feeling inspired, write more. The daily goal is 1,667 words, but if you can do more, do more. Trust me, weeks 2 and 3 are intense, and you’ll feel better if you have a nice buffer from week 1.
2. Keep. Writing. I cannot stress this enough. Seriously. For real. Really. I don’t care how uninspired you’re feeling or how big of a wall you’ve hit – you HAVE to push through. My first NaNo had some alien visits thrown in and I broke the fourth wall about ten times, but I got to 50k. You can edit later, yeah?
3. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to perform perfectly. Especially if it’s your first time! It’s kind of like running. When you run your first 5k, you don’t give a pig’s eye how fast you’re going, you’re just shocked that you actually did it. Those of us who have been doing it for longer might try to crank out a decent first draft, but again, my first NaNo was a huge achievement even with all the aliens. Just enjoy it. The point is to break you out of your writing rut and get some words on the page you can work with. It’s supposed to be FUN 🙂
4. Silence your inner editor. Don’t kill them, just gag them and tie them up in a room somewhere. Try not to edit as you write because it will hectically slow you down.
5. HAVE FUN. Revel in your agony when you hit a wall. Enjoy the build-up. Love the times when you are forced to do Write-or-Die sessions to get you through word count walls. You’re writing a NOVEL, and that’s incredible.
6. Eat healthy and stay hydrated, but if you need some junk, eat some junk.
7. Spend time in the forums, but not too long. Use them for motivation and a bit of procrastination, but don’t let them sidetrack you too much.
8. Be prepared for the last week to be insane. By week 3, procrastination has not only reared its ugly head but has sprouted ten more, and a lot of people have to do a massive sprint to finish. Last year I had something like 30k to do in the last three days. This is actually really, really fun 🙂
9. If it will help you, blog about it!
10. Lastly, meet people. NaNoers are generally a friendly group and it’s worth getting to know some of them.
1. Know that there will be a let-down when it’s all over. Fewer and fewer people will grace the forums. The abundance of blogs and vlogs will dwindle. And you might feel a bit displaced now that your month-long adventure is over. But it’ll pass, don’t worry!
2. Leave your novel for a while before editing it. If you decide not to work on it anymore, don’t delete it – whether or not you turned out a workable first draft, you still did something incredible. If you do want to edit it, leave it for at least 2 weeks, but preferably a month. You’ll be more objective and more capable of doing a proper editing job.
3. Keep writing 🙂 Now that you’ve gotten through the month, don’t abandon your talent! You may not be able to keep up the same pace, but make time for it and keep at it. There are various other writing challenges that might help to keep you going, which I’ll be posting about after this month is over.
4. Get excited! You wrote a novel!!!