NaNoWriMo Survival Guide
If you haven’t heard of NaNoWriMo then check out the website, but in essence for over a decade now November has been the NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth. People from all over participate. All you have to do to win is write 50,000 words in a month. And here are some tips for how to win.
Note: These tips are not in any specific order….
- Pick a genre. A working title. Write a synopsis (basically a sentence that sums up what your novel is going to be about).
- If you’re a plotter then write at least a basic outline. Note: If you’re a pantser and you’re like me, you might want to at least write down a few key ideas about where you want your story to go, what’s going on with the character, and at least a few details that are important to the story. Or you can just wing it completely (but I tried that and I got stuck at the midpoint and was floundering around like a fish on land).
- Find a place you can write. It doesn’t matter if it’s in a corner, in your very own writing room, at Starbuck’s, at the library, on your bed, or outside. Just somewhere that is your very own writing niche.
- You’re going to at least need a pen or pencil and some paper. If you’re writing old school style then you’re good, but if you’re like me and you’re going to need a laptop, a desktop, or at least a typewriter or word processor (hey, there are writer’s who still write using a typewriter). Note: if you have a Mac or Windows, I suggest you use Scrivener. It’s awesome and amazing, and perfect for writing whether you’re writing a thesis, a blog, a book, a script, etc. And they have a special for NaNoWriMo (a discount) and there’s a free trial version just for NaNoWriMo. Check them out.
- Get yourself some rewards for short term goals and long term goals. For example, if you make your word count goal for the day allow yourself a piece of chocolate…If you WIN NaNoWriMo reward yourself with something you’ve been wanting (for me it was purchasing Scrivener, for another writer I know it was buying a new book). Each Friday if I’ve made my word count goal for the week I’ll be getting myself a White Chocolate Mocha venti from Starbucks with whipped cream. Haven’t decided on the big goal yet.
- You’ll also want to stock up on coffee, or whatever other type of drink(s) you like. I’ll be getting extra coffee, half & half, and Splenda, as well as chocolate, water bottles, Dr. Pepper, popcorn, Twizzler’s, baby carrots, and a few other goodies.
- You’ll also want to make sure that you get up from that chair, move around. Go outside and check the mail. Take a walk. You need to keep your blood flowing, it’s better for the brain and for you circulation.
- Make sure you get plenty of rest. It seems like a good idea to pull all nighters when you’re on a roll, but you need your sleep. Besides, I often dream about my characters and that helps with ideas.
- Write every day! If you write 1667 words a day you’ll make the 50K goal in 30 days, but please remember that Thanksgiving Day is in November and if you want to take a break on that day you’ll need write a little extra on some days.
- Put your inner editor away. Do NOT edit during November. You can edit once NaNoWriMo is over.
- Many people use the sprints and it works well for them. I don’t like them, but a lot of people do. There are word sprints on twitter, check them out.
- Do your research before November. Don’t spend time during November doing research.
- Save your novel in multiple ways, in multiple versions. I save mine as an attachment in my email, on a thumb drive, and on my hard-drive. You’ll be happy you saved it if something happens to your computer, and believe me you hear about it happening to at least a few people each NaNo.
- Remember that pen and notebook…Well once you’ve completed your 1667 word count for the day go places, get out, have fun. Listen to conversations between strangers, people watch…Have FUN and take notes.
- If you have a certain pair of pants, a favorite t-shirt or sweat shirt, hat, bedroom shoes, etc… Then wear it.
- Tell your family and friends that you’re doing NaNoWriMo. 1. It makes you accountable, 2. Hopefully they’ll support you (I know husband did while I was working on my novel during April’s Camp NaNo.
- And last but not least, IT”S OKAY IF YOUR NOVEL NEEDS EDITING. IT’S OKAY IF IT’S SHITTY.