It’s almost time for NanoWrimo – National Novel Writing Month where people try to write a 50,000 word draft of a novel in a month. I’ve taken part at various times all the way back to 2011, I believe.
In 2012, I did a series of posts about prepping that hold the test of time and they’re linked below. (I migrated my website a year ago from Weebly to WordPress and not every image made the journey, but the content is solid and worth a read).
My life is so different now to then. I don’t have a young family to juggle and I have written a lot of books since. These days it’s not unusual for me to write 50,000 words several months a year but I love the participation and community of Nano and I love getting that final novel for the year done. December is crazy, we all know that and I tend to ease off on the writing in favour of Christmas lunches and drinks with friends.
I still know a few things work for me:
- Get a big count early.
I love writing a new book. LOVE IT! So the beginning is the easy part. To stay om track for NanNo you need to write 1667 words a day. I like to start with a few 3,00 even 5,000 word days and then I’m ahead and the pressure is off.
- Round up.
Don’t stop at 1667 the recommended daily word count needed to reach your target. Aim to reach at least get to 2000 words a day. You’ll thank yourself mid-month.
That’s where you set a timer for 20 minutes or 30 and just write. Three of those a day and I will make the 1667 easily.
I don’t always plot my books. I’m a weirdo who sometimes just writes, sometimes plots an entire novel and sometimes gets to 15k and plots the rest. Heck, sometimes I make bullet points and just plot the next chapter. The bullet points mean I won’t start at the screen for an hour…I always have a scene I can write.
- Remember, it’s a draft.
This is not what gets published, it’s your first draft, so it’s okay to write and leave things blank– add description later, check this character’s name/hair/eye colour, insert sex scene, research this bit and -MOVE ON. You can fill all that in later, but don’t let it stop you from continuing to write.
- Write something fun – especially in 2020.
It’s going to be work regardless but don’t put yourself in a zone of misery before you begin. We all know this year has been and continues to be tough, so don’t set yourself up for misery and/or failure. Pick a story that will excite you and write that.
So there’s some advice.…I do recommend you read the post below, especially if you’re a Nano newbie.
Let me know if you’re signed up for this year in the comments.
From the 2012 Archives
How to survive NaNoWriMo – Part 3, Organise Your Writing Life
NaNoWriMo Planning Series – Part 4 – Plan to care for Your Body
My 2017 Advice