Today is the beginning of National Novel Writing Month or as it’s known by it’s street name “NaNoWriMo” one of my favorite days for the writing world. It’s an awesome event, and I encourage every writer to try to get on board at least once. I have participated twice (succeeded only once) but I learned a lot.
My brief tips for success:
- Write Every Day
Seriously. Don’t make deals with yourself. Write. Every. Day. There’s only 30 days and it’s amazing how fast they’ll sprint past you. Buckle down, set aside some time and just write. 1700 words is a lot of words and you’ll need to average that every day to finish. If you tell yourself you can wait or hold off and write extra hard the next day it’ll just become a slippery slope. Sit down. Write.
- Research, Plan & Take Notes
Bulk loading a lot of your research upfront is a good way for you to get past the Wikipedia articles and into the prose of your manuscript. If you haven’t researched don’t fret, just don’t sweat the small stuff. You have words to put down. Write what is in your head and make a note of it, then you can go back when it’s all over and massage it into place.
- Get Involved
It can be tough to go it alone. So get involved with the community. Find a NaNoWriMo partner, join a group of writers, meet weekly with some friends and get involved on the NaNoWriMo forums, tweet about it, keep a blog. Keep yourself accountable to someone, anyone. Why? Accountability. When your 25k words in, exhausted and twitchy from too much coffee, and things look bleak… you’ll have someone to encourage you to keep going.
- Have Fun
This is a given but is still important. Don’t kill yourself over your manuscript. In a lot of ways NaNoWriMo is a perfect way to see how you – as a writer – writes. Maybe 50k words a month IS too much. Maybe 1700 words a day IS impossible. (That’s totally okay.) The important thing is that you’re writing and you’re having fun doing it.
Good luck to all the NaNoWriMo participants, and as I said on twitter, I look forward to someday reading your books!
I’m slogging through these first few days of NaNo, fighting illness and crud, but this has been the first time in months that I’ve been able to dedicate myself solely to my own work, rather than helping other writers with their craft. Feels like I’m having to relearn creativity. But I’m enjoying the brain stretch!
Oh man, I can imagine illness makes it a slog. Hang in there.
I always found that NaNoWriMo is a great way to get back into the creative thing. The combo of dedicated time to focus (being the entire month of November) plus a huge support network really helped me “get into the game” as it were.