NaNoWriMo; Beware!

Participating in NaNoWriMo this November? Yay!

Okay. So. Joy and rainbow bubbles aside, it’s a slog. Yep. Slog. Don’t think that you’ll breeze through just because you’re you. Completing NaNo requires hard work, dedication, and a deep passion – obsessions work just as well – for writing.

I’ve been doing some research, and here are a few things  – in no particular order – you should consider – based off of my own experience, and that of other, better versed NaNos…

  • When you’re battling to write 50k in just 30 days, you can find yourself automatically looking for more long winded ways of saying the same thing. Make an extra effort to remain clear and concise.
  • Somewhere between 1am and 4am, your ability to think rationally may wane. At times like these, your story can also start to wane, meandering here and there as your eyelids droop. At the end of NaNo, you’re going to read through all of that and groan. But there’s still hope! You’ve got twelve days – counting today – left before NaNo arrives. Start sketching your rough outline now (if you need some help, check out K.M. Weiland’s ‘Outlining Your Novel’, from the link in my last post).
  • Let your friends and family know what you’re doing and what you’re trying to achieve. Share your progress. In short, help yourself keep your commitment by making it public – or at least to the people you trust.
  • I know this sounds bad, but, just this once, you’ve got to give quantity priority over quality. Quality takes time, and that’s something NaNo doesn’t give you. You can always go back and edit at the end of the month… blank pages can’t be rewritten, though!
  • Stop writing before you run out of ideas. I know it’s hard. But put down your pen – or close your word document (whatever you do, don’t forget to save it!) – and walk away. Think hard about what you’re going to write tomorrow – or, if you haven’t written your daily 1667 words (because that’s what it takes), what you’re going to write in half an hour. Build off what you already know you’re going to write, and things will come easier.
  • Do NOT put your draft away for the day until you have written those 1667 words! This may sound like torture, and the hard truth is that it probably is. But as soon as you miss one day’s work, it’s easier to miss the next day’s work. The more days you miss, the more impossible it becomes to catch up. Just skipping four days gives you a build up of 6668 unwritten words!
  • I know it’s tempting, but don’t reward yourself with a chocolate bar every five hundred words… before too long, it’ll be every three hundred… two hundred… and so on and so forth. Future you will regret it.
  • Don’t reread or edit during NaNo. That comes later – just when you think you’ve actually gone and done it, rewriting jumps out at you and goes “Booooo!”

Feeling lonely and uninspired? The good news is that the NaNo community is huge and enthusiastic. They’ve been building up to this year’s NaNo for the past couple months – ever since the last one ended, really. Check out their NaNo Prep Resources.

NaNoWriMo; Beware!

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