As most of you probably know, today was day one of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I am participating this year, and even though I had a rough start this morning, I did get about 4,500 words out today, which I think is a pretty good start! (Plus, I’ll probably write some more before midnight.)
I’ve decided November is going to be a very casual and informal blogging month for me, mostly due to the fact that I’m going to be really busy. I’m still finishing up my reading challenge, I have NaNoWriMo, classes are starting up again, and just life in general. I figured I’d keep you updated on NaNoWriMo as the month goes along, along with some tips to survive if you’re also trying to write a novel in a month.
As for my read-a-thon, it’s gone really well so far. I’ve been in a bit of a haze from all the painkillers I’ve had to take after my surgery earlier this week, but I still managed to keep up with my page goals. I’ll be wrapping up the read-a-thon on Sunday, and hope to read a total of 1,400 pages. I’ve already finished three books this week (about 1,000 pages) and started a new one today. That leaves me with 3 days to read 400 pages, which should be a piece of cake!
As for NaNoWriMo, I thought I’d share a few quick tricks to help you through the month that have helped me win in years past.
1. Get ahead early. In the first few days of November you’ll be hyped up on adrenaline and energized and motivated to write. You will most likely not feel this way around November 20th. Write a lot early on to give yourself a cushion when it starts getting tough. There’s nothing worse than getting super behind on your word count and then feeling like you’ll never catch up so oh-my-god-you-should-just-stop-now.
Don’t think that way. Plan ahead now and work through the middle-of-the-month slump when you get there.
2. Find some writing buddies. They can be formal buddies on the NaNoWriMo website, or find some friends in real life who are also participating in NaNoWriMo. (Or just have your mom call you nightly and make sure you’re writing, if you’d like). There’s nothing like someone cheering for you on the sidelines to get you out of bed and to your computer (or notebook or blackberry or whatever you write on.)
3. Don’t worry about quality. I don’t mean write badly just for the sake of writing badly, but don’t stress if your writing feels a bit forced or doesn’t look as polished as you’d like. NaNoWriMo is about getting the first draft down. No one writes a perfect novel in 30 days. Get the idea down on paper now, go back and make it sparkle later.
4. It’s never too late, and you’re never too behind. Even if you have a rough day or a rough few days and fall behind in your word count, it’s not the end of the world. You can always catch back up. The only way you’ll fail is if you just stop trying. Some days will be wonderful writing days. You’ll pound out 5,000-10,000 words and feel fantastic. Some days it’ll be a struggle to get 100 words on the page. This isn’t a sprint. It’s a marathon. Pace yourself and understand that everyday can’t be a stellar writing day. If it’s just not working today, give yourself a break. It’s okay to take a break and not follow the daily word count goals. Do what you have to do to write this novel. This is your writing process. It’s allowed to be different than someone else’s.
5. Have fun. I think once the stress of the month starts getting to people, they forget why they’re doing NaNoWriMo in the first place. You’re writing a book! That’s really cool! You shouldn’t forget that. You’re writing because you love it and no matter how difficult the month of November is, if you stick with it, you’ll have your novel (a rough version of it, but still) at the end of the month.
I think this would be an appropriate time to insert “Just keep writing. Just keep writing. Just keep writing, writing, writing” to the tune of Dory’s Finding Nemo song. 🙂