That’s right folks, it’s that time of the year again. NanoWriMo. For those of you not in the know Nano is National Writing Month. It’s a “competition” where the goal is to write a novel in 30 days. Maybe not a full novel, but at a minimum 50,000 words. That’s right, 50K. That means you have to write 1667 words every day for 30 days to “win.” What do you win? Well, first off bragging rights. You succeeded in writing a 50,000 word first draft that you’ll then need to revise. There are also some goodies, discounts on software like Scrivener and other services. You don’t technically compete with anyone but yourself, however. Just crank out 50K+ words and you are a winner.
This will be my third year. I failed two years ago but I did win last year, I also won the summer Nano event. It can be difficult as there are pesky things like real life standing in your way. School, work, family, other obligations. And if you are in the states you have that holiday we’re all thankful for near the end of the month. It is totally doable and here are some of the tips I use to help get my word count in. Now as I said this is MY style, your mileage may vary, other restrictions may apply.
1) Write every day. This is a key to not getting, as one participant stated, word debt. Some days you might get more in than others.
2) Get out in front if it early. By this I mean you don’t have to stop at 1667 words each day. If you can get 2K, or even 3K get on it. That will help alleviate some of the crunch if you find yourself falling behind with family, work, whatever. Build that buffer but don’t slack off once you have it. This will also help you avoid word debt.
3) Schedule time to write. This should be done regardless of Nano or not if you plan to write. Everything else in your life is somewhat scheduled, this should be no different. Find what time is best for you, in the morning before work/class, at night after work/class. Sit down and write. I’d also recommend telling friends and family members. This way that you aren’t necessarily avoiding them, more that you are actually working.
4) Don’t worry about editing (yet). I failed the first time I tried Nano because I got bogged down editing instead of writing. Yes, Nano is probably going to be a hot mess when you are done. Knowing this and accepting it are important. Make yourself notes about what you need to fix or go back and change. The one thing you don’t want to do is lower your word count. Because of this I’ve adopted the phrase “Fix it in post”.
5) Pre-production is a life saver. Film makers don’t just grab random people and start filming. They have to have a script, a story, scout locations, get funding. While not as complex as a film writing can be helped by many of those things. Depending on your style of writing outline your story. If you have a frame work, an idea of where you want the story to go this will help you. Have some basic character bio’s so you know who you will be writing about, basic description, motivations. Do a little world building so you will know what happens in the Shire or Rivendell. Have some set pieces so you know where the action is going to take place.
6) Do what works for you. These are my tips and tricks but they may not be for everyone. Every writer has their own style. They’ll tell you what works for them. It might not work for you, however. I would say to try different things to expand your writing tools but Nano might not be the time for that.
That’s all I’ve got. I find this has helped me in writing, not only for Nano but also for writing in general. What tips do you have? Comment below or reply via Facebook or Twitter. I’m curious to see what y’all do to win!