In case you didn’t know, November is National Novel Writing Month. Tuesday I’ll be starting a new novel and shooting at finishing 50,000 words of it in November. That’s the challenge of NaNoWriMo. I’ve made it three years and have participated for four years.
It’s a crazy frenzied experience where the writer concentrates on putting one word after another into the computer or down on paper. If you participate in NaNoWriMo, here are some tips for making it through the month of November….
1. If you’re reading this before Tuesday, get that outline put together… or at least make a list of plot points for your novel. Now, I’ve participated in NaNo with no outline, and let me tell you, it’s not a pretty sight. Everyday, I was frantic to come up with the next thing to write. However, it can be done. I did make it to 50,000 words one of the years that I started without an outline. Make it easier on yourself, however, and have a few thoughts about your plot jotted down. Here are some tips on making an outline.
2. Get into a rhythm of writing. In order to write 50,000 words in a month, you must average a bit over 1600 words a day. With that kind of a deadline, it’s good to get into a rhythm of writing. Set aside a certain amount of time each day to write and make a point not to miss a day of it. Once you get behind, it’s hard to catch up.
3. If you need references in order to write your book, gather them this weekend. You’ll want to use your November time for writing not for looking up the finer points of the history that goes into your book. You can’t start writing the actual book in October, but you can certainly make notes and bookmark references you’ll need.
4. Have some fun with it. Go to the forums on the NaNoWriMo site and find out what people are talking about, log in your word count on your site everyday. Chat with others and check out if there is a NaNo regional group in your area. I get together once a week to write with others. We cheer each other on — it keeps the adrenalin flowing.
5. The best piece of advice I can give you is to not take your writing too seriously. When writing, I usually stop when I make a spelling error or don’t get the phrasing just right. During the month of November, I let go of that tenacious hold I have on editing. I just write… and I don’t look back. December… after I’ve logged in my 50,000 words is the time for editing… During November, merely move forward.
6. Have a great time with it. It’s a fun activity and I can’t wait to get started. I’ll be posting my numbers in the column to the right, so feel free to check back to see how I’m doing.
Have a great and productive weekend.