’Tis the season for pumpkin spice lattes, flannel, and…NaNoWriMo! A friend of mine asked for advice for NaNo first-timers, and her question inspired this blog.
So, whether this is your first time to attempt NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) or whether you just need a reminder, this blog is for you! I’ve participated three different times, which makes me no pro, but I do have a few tricks up my sleeve.
But let me say first, to those who are on the line about participating this year— if you have time on your hands and a story burning on your heart, then you should definitely do NaNoWriMo. It’s an excellent way to get a good chunk of writing done, with a community there to support you.
So now, to the tips:
- Remember that it’s ok to write a shitty first draft, as Anne Lamott states in her book Bird by Bird. NaNo is about content, not quality. So basically just write, and know that you can go back and fix it later. If you need to have another document on the side to keep track of ideas to sprinkle in later, or to summarize scenes that you might not feel like writing but are crucial to the story, then do that. Don’t let yourself get hung up on perfection of a sentence structure or scene that you’re not feeling at the moment.
- Have you created an account in the nano website? That’s a great way to keep yourself accountable. You can add your word count at the end of each day, set goals, and at the end month, if you “win”, you get a certificate! 🙂 It’s been super encouraging to me to see the graph displaying my overall word count and know how far I’ve come.
- If you’re an outliner, then try to get as much of the outline written as possible before November. If you’re not an outliner (like me—yay!) then just write whatever comes to you, but be prepared to delete/rewrite a lot of scenes later. (It’s worth it, I promise.)
- Try to find your best time to write, either when you have a big chunk of time to dedicate to writing, and/or where you feel the most creative, and try to set aside that time for NaNoWriMo each day. I feel the most creative in the morning, but after 8 pm is the only time I can dedicate to writing, because #kids. So be prepared to choose one or the other.
- Last…have fun! Enjoy the process and don’t let yourself get burnt out. If you don’t reach the 50k mark by the end of November, don’t sweat it! NaNoWriMo is about having fun, setting goals, and getting the writing done that you wouldn’t have completed if you didn’t participate.