It’s NaNoWriMo in less than one day and five hours. Either you’re dreaming, scheming, brainstorming, and/or outlining, but hopefully not terrorizing. If none of those words means anything to you and you’re participating in NaNoWriMo, you’re either very confident and have lots of creative, brilliant ideas or haven’t got a blasted clue what you’re going to write about and are probably planning to improvise or fly by the seat of your pants. (fly by the seat of your pants is a much better expression for the NaNoWriMo word count)
Since I’m a NaNoWriMo virgin, I’ve done a bit of all the above. Now that we’re less than a day and a half away from NaNo Day I’ve decided to really throw my back into it. The only thing that’s going to stop me from writing is a block falling on my desk. Ok, ok, I know that’s not likely to really happen but you get what I mean.
I’ve surfed the net like crazy gathering useful information and advice from NaNoWriMo regulars. I’ve understood that this is essentially a writing exercise. I repeat this is a writing exercise. Henceforth, go forth and write, write, and write…. During my search for great advice, I watched some You Tube videos and read a few blogs. Below I’ve compiled the useful tips and tricks I’ve found to help those striving to reach the 50,000 word goal for the 30th of November.
1. Beat your inner editor into submission! Don’t critique or edit! All first drafts are crappy anyway! You can edit and proofread from December on.
2. Checkout the Special Offer rubric on the NaNoWriMo site. There you’ll find free offers of writing programs that you can use the month of November on a free trial basis —- like Scrivener, Storyist, Yarny, and WriteWay. There are also offers from companies like Createspace and Outskirtspress which can help interested participants with independent publishing. None of these offers are obligatory but they can apparently be helpful in the writing process.
3. Check out the NaNoWriMo twitter sprints. The twitter sprints can urge you to continue to write and faster at those grave moments of the blank page.
4. Find nice places to write and if possible, change spots to give you different perspectives. Carry a notebook with you at all times for when you get ideas in weird places, like in the middle of a work meeting, in the toilet, on the train or subway, buying tea or coffee at Starbuck’s, etc.
5. Track your progress on the NaNoWriMo site. This will incite you to keep up to a correct pace. You can also track everybody else’s progress and that should whip you into shape.
6. Tell everybody you know that you’re going to do NaNoWriMo. What better way to be boosted into finishing the challenge of 50,000 words. After telling so many people you won’t dare quit.
7. Go to local write-ins. It’s good to have face-to-face buddies, as well as virtual ones.
8. Plan and make the time to write at least 1,667 words everyday.
9. Prepare a story outline and know your characters. You then won’t waste so much time on things like names and places.
10. Consume like crazy the NaNoWriMo pep talks which will arrive in your mailbox everyday. Encouraging words from published writers who know what you’re going through can be nothing more than an aid.
11. Get a play list of music ready to play while writing to get you into the mood of your book. This will help with constructing the setting and ambiance of your novel.
12. Stock up on a few snacks and try to make at least half of them healthy. You don’t want to overdo the sugar and fall asleep while writing or worse drink so much coffee that you get the jitters.
13. Last but not least, have FUN!!! You should enjoy yourself. You shouldn’t be taking on this challenge if you don’t like writing.
I wish all the NaNoWriMo participants lots of luck and enjoyment. If anyone has any other tips for me, drop me a line or two in the comments below.
Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money.
——– Jules RENARD