It’s November again, which means it’s also National Novel Writing Month—or NaNoWriMo for those involved. Basically, you try to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. To stay on track, you need to write 1667 words per day. That may or may not sound like a lot depending on where you are in your writing career and how many words you normally write a day. There’s an entire website devoted to NaNoWRiMo so if you’d like more information, just click HERE to be whisked away. It’s not too late to get started!
If you’re already signed up and are struggling to make those 1667 words each day, here are a few tips and tricks I’ve learned over my 4 years of NaNoWriMo participation. I’m by no means a pro, but I usually complete my goal by the end of the month. Whether or not I actually remember to record it officially, is another issue entirely. LOL.
- Don’t think about what you’re writing too much. Just go for it. You know you have a plan in mind, now let your characters talk while you try to keep up with the writing part.
- Don’t edit as you go. I’m terrible for this. I WANT to EDIT! But during NaNo month, I force myself not to as much as possible.
- Don’t delete anything. If you must edit as you go—not that I would EVER do that since I just told you all not to do that—don’t delete the stuff you don’t like anymore. Simply put a strike through it or highlight it or make some other notation so that later on you can find and easily delete all the stuff you want to take out. Until then, leave the words in there for your word count. And you never know, what you hate today, you might love it in a month!
- Don’t expect the word count to be easy every day. It won’t be. Some days it’ll be like pulling out your own teeth. Accept that there will be low word count days and know you’ll do your best to make up for them on high word count days.
- Do join local write-ins if you have some near you that fit your schedule. You get to surround yourself with likeminded people who are all hopped up on caffeine and cookies and you might even make some new friends! Oh, and you might get a boost to your word count too. 🙂
- Don’t get too stuck on a scene for too long. If a scene really isn’t coming together but you’re anxious to write the next one, put a note in your book for “Scene here” and move on. Keep the ball rolling and the words flowing. You can always go back and write that scene later when it comes to you.
- Do chat online with other NaNoWriMo writers. Part of the fun of NaNo is the community of writers. Share your ups and downs, your word counts and your wins!
- Do timed writing sprints. If you’re struggling to find the time to sit and write or if you’re feeling overwhelmed, simply start a writing sprint for a manageable amount of time. Maybe it’s 15 minutes. Maybe 30. Whatever it is, set a time and stick to it. You’ll be surprised at how fast those words sprints add up!
- Do give yourself permission to write a shitty first draft. It’s okay. Write your words in November, edit them in December, polish them to a shine in January.
- Do try to stay on par or better. I know it can be tough but there’s nothing more depressing than logging into NaNo only to see you’re 5 days behind on your word count, and that’s just to get caught up to today. Try to stay as close to on par as you can. Better yet, on days where the words are flowing, keep it going as long as your schedule allows. The more cushion you have along the way, the better off you’ll feel.
- Don’t send your book to agents, publishers or anyone else with eyes December 1st. Just don’t. You wrote it fast! Now you need to take the time to edit it before you send it out into the world.
- Do have fun! We’re not curing cancer. We’re not winning a war. We’re writing a book, maybe the book we’ve always dreamed of writing! Let yourself get caught up in the momentum that is NaNoWriMo, but don’t let it take away from the experience of actually writing your book. Have fun, enjoy the process, love your work while you’re doing it.
- Don’t get too caught up on whether or not you win and hit that 50,ooo word mark by the end of the month. The whole point is to get motivated to write your book and you even if you don’t get to 50k, you still have more words now than you did before! Use it as a jumping off point to keep writing even after the month is over.
- Do become my buddy on NaNoWriMo by looking up hthurmeier once you’re registered! Or follow me on twitter at @hthurmeier which is where I usually chat about all things NaNo.