This is my third year participating in NaNo and I’ve completed the last two years, so while I may not be an expert, I do know a thing or two about how to survive this insane month of writing.
And because I’m such a kind person, I’m going to share that thing or two. 😛
Not doing NaNo this year? Well, you should still read this post because it’s the last you’ll hear from me until November is over. (Wait, did I hear a sigh of relief?!)
Ok, I’ll overlook that rude sigh and still give you my tips.
Relax. You may feel a bit like a teacup chihuahua trying to wolf down a watermelon-size bite, but there’s no need to panic (unless you actually are a chihuahua with a watermelon-sized bite…you gonna die). You don’t have to write all 50,000 words at once. Just focus on the 1,667 you have to write that day. Still seem like a lot? Focus on writing 100 words, then when you’re done focus on the next 100. Keep doing that until you’ve finished.
Don’t edit. Leave the editing for December or January, but if you try to edit during NaNo you’ll burn out. Don’t be so fixated on getting the previous chapter just right that you spend all your writing time adding commas and rewriting that one character’s dialogue that always sounds like a cheap version of Captain Jack Sparrow. Forget Jack and write those words.
It’s ok to write something that won’t make it in your story. I don’t mean going off and working on another writing project (you’ll never finish NaNo like that!) but maybe you just need to work something out that happened off scene or maybe you need to write in another character’s viewpoint for a scene. I find that when a scene isn’t flowing because one of the character’s responses seem stiff and unnatural I need to spend some time writing in their viewpoint to get in their head.
In other words, don’t get so stuck thinking that you can only write what will show up in the chapters of your story that you can’t move forward.
Which leads me to the next tip…
Move forward. No matter what. You may not complete your word count for the day. You may go a few days without writing a single word (*gasp* shame on you). Setbacks are going to happen–that’s inevitable–but you decide what to do about them. Are you going to look at all those words piling up and cower in a corner until November is over and your opportunity to write a novel is over with it? Of course not! (If you do, you revoke the privilege of being called an Epic Dreamer and are banished from my blog forever).
Follow Dory’s advice on this on…
It’s ok to not write 50,000 words.
What?! But isn’t that the whole point to NaNo? And you just said we couldn’t be called Epic Dreamers anymore if we didn’t finish.
I said “if you gave up” dear concerned reader. You should be proud of yourself for not giving up even if in the end your word count falls short of 50,000. The point of NaNo is try something new. It’s to push yourself, to see just what you can do. If you’ve done more writing than you’re used to, then congrats, you dedicated a month to becoming a better writer.
That’s what this coming month is all about: growing our writing skills.
I’d love to hear about what all you Epic Dreamers are dreaming up for November. What’s your goal this NaNo? Are you working on a novel or a collection of short stories? First time? Or are you a veteran?
If you’re looking for a writing buddy, I’ll be glad to add you. My lovely username is invisibleworld.
And if you miss me while I’m on my month-long blogging sabbatical, I’ll be on twitter (@meganbedwel) sharing the woes of cramming 50,000 words in a month. Actually, I’ll be tweeting NaNo comics and memes to cheer myself up. 🙂
See you at the end of 30 days and 50,000 words!
Until then, keep dreaming Epic Dreamers!