NaNoWriMo Advice – join in and share yours!

Yep, it’s another post about NaNoWriMo (you might as well get used to this being a regular theme for the next month or so). If you haven’t read my first post on it, you can read that here.

As I approach my fourth NaNoWriMo, I am not really nervous. Excited, certainly, but any concerns of whether I can even reach 50 000 words in 30 days has long since passed – I know I can do it, and I know I will, and I don’t even question this. I will find a way to do it no matter what, because I’m determined, a little bit insane, but mostly because one gains this kind of confidence after reaching this goal for 3 consecutive years.

But I know many of you are attempting this for the first time. Some of you are pondering whether you should attempt it, or if it might be too hard for you (it isn’t, trust me). In either case, you’re quite possibly doubtful of whether you can achieve such an ambitious goal in such a small time frame, and you are wondering quite literally how you can do this.

Here’s a few personal tips from me:

  1. Coffee is your best friend. You will need plenty of coffee during this (however don’t drink 14 coffees in one day like I did once during NaNo – there is such a thing as too much). If you don’t drink coffee, find something else that perks you up, perhaps tea (I do love tea too). Stay away from energy drinks, the come down is always worse and will bring your writing to an abrupt halt.
  2. The backspace and delete keys on your keyboard no longer exist. Forget about them. They don’t even like you, so don’t give them the time of day. There’s only one direction and it’s forward – remember this is only a first draft!
  3. If you miss a day, it’s okay. Don’t panic, because life does need to continue. I miss days every year; I think my record is 11 days straight of no writing (try not to miss that many, mind you – that was painful to catch up). There will be days where you can just keep writing, and will more than catch up. Try and stay within 10k of the daily goal (which is on the website as the month progresses), and you should be fine.
  4. Stay off social networking sites, particularly Facebook or any site where it is easy to chat to others. You can easily waste an hour or two on these sites, and then walk away not feeling productive – once you get your typing speed up (which you will quite quickly), you’ll find you can crank out the daily words within a couple of hours most days, leaving you plenty of time to do other things later.
  5. If you’re stuck, try throwing in something new and possibly random into your story. A new character, a new event, a new relationship, or perhaps the demise of one of these. Then consider the ripple effect this would have on your other characters – that in itself could be thousands of words of story. If all else fails…dream sequences!
  6. Tell everybody you’re doing this challenge. Tell your friends, your family, your partner, your pets, a few random strangers. The more people you tell, the more inclined you will be to actually finish this.
  7. If by chance you don’t reach the 50k goal, it’s not the end of the world – chances are you still wrote more than you would have without this challenge, in which case it was clearly a success for you. The ultimate goal of this is to force yourself to put the story down on paper quickly, without stuffing around or over-thinking it. You can make the story good later.

I could go on and on, but I’ll stop here. For those who have done this before, what advice do you have for other NaNoWriMo participants this year? Feel free to share the advice love – every little bit might help inspire someone out there!

32 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo Advice – join in and share yours!

      • I think that you may be suspecting correctly. I can see the drive through of my Maccas from my upstairs window. I could jump the fence and be there, if I could jump a fence. I also have a pleasant fries smell wafting into my house throughout the day. How I haven’t put on 50kgs since moving into this house I don’t know.

        • Ahhh, I know how you feel about the smell thing – I live within smelling distance of Monti’s chips on the Gosford waterfront (actually I can see it from my balcony). Interestingly though it’s put me off buying food from there too often πŸ˜›

  1. I was thinking about doing this for the first time this year, but I’m already on a roll with something else that I’m working on and I don’t want to disrupt that, and I know you can’t bring in something you’re already working on of course.
    I just want to know, what happens to your story after the 30 days are up?

    • Well you can bring in something you’re already working on really – I mean, the goal is to write 50 000 words. It might say on the site you’re supposed to start something new, but I know plenty of people who continue on with something and just add 50000 words to it. If you’re feeling up to it, I say do it and just continue with your story πŸ˜›
      Not much happens to it when the 30 days are up. Generally you wanna give it a break, then try editing it and if you think it’s okay try approaching agents etc. Some big authors have come out of NaNoWriMo though – in particular Sara Gruen (Water For Elephants) and Erin Morgenstern (The Night Circus) both have written books during NaNoWriMo (possibly these books? Not too sure).

    • I actually love to use NaNo to get my current projects really rolling. It’s not strictly allowed, but I never count the words I already had written, so I’m still writing 50,000 new words. I used Camp NaNo this past summer to finish a novel I’d been stalling on for nearly eight years. If you’re on a roll with something, NaNo will really help you keep that momentum. I say go for it!

  2. Great advice! I especially agree with No. 2. It can feel so liberating to ignore those two buttons. One thing I think people should keep in mind is to only aim for 1,667 words per day. If you write more, then great! But you shouldn’t set outrageous word goals and then despair or stress over meeting them.

  3. I can’t tell you how important it is to let family know you’re doing this. They probably think you’re crazy for committing to 50,000 words in one month, but it’s best to get them on your side. Even if they think you’re crazy.

  4. I like to brainstorm scenes ahead of time. I’ll keep sticky notes with blurbs or lines of dialogue on them. It helps to give me a starting point when I sit down to start writing, or to just get my brain churning whether I end up using the scenes or not.

    • Ahhh awesome, thank you so much! πŸ™‚ I will definitely do that! A lot of my current WIPs are all over the shop at the moment, as a lot of unforeseen things came my way over the course of this year. So I might use one of the last stories I actually finished – either one of my novellas I wrote earlier in the year, or perhaps the novel I wrote for the last NaNo.
      Thanks again, this should be fun! πŸ™‚

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