Way back in 2012 I did a series of blog posts about how to best prepare for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).
NaNoWriMo, if you don’t know, is global online challenge where people commit to writing a 50,000 word novel in a month. According to their website I’ve succesded 5 out of the last 6 years so I guess I’ve learned a thing of two along the way.
You can look at the tips I shared back then. I divided them up into weekly topics and I just reread them all and I stand by the advice I gave so take a look.(Heck I even created a meal plan for you!)
Part 1 – Plan Your Writing
Part 2 – Plan Your Life for NaNoWriMo
Part 3 – Plan the month of Writing – or tips to
Part 4 – Plan to Care for your Body ( A Guest post from physiotherapist & author Terri Green)
All these years later I know the key tips for my own success are:
1. Get a lot of words down on day one – this year I launching a book, hosting an online book party, going to my writing group and lunch for a writing friend (I think we can all agree if I get my 2,000 words down I should be happy).
2. Try and do at least 2,000 words a day so that you’re never behind and you have some words in the bank. I know for me Christmas celebrations seem to start in November so my social life gets nutty as the month moves along – it helps to be ahead.
3. Let people know so then when you turn them down for something you can say “Remember I have a 50,000 word novel to write” and also I like to be accountable. I’m not a fan of public failure.
4. Don’t fly blind – I’m not much of a plotter but even a few notes help. Write down even five or six scenes you think you want to include..and add to the list as you go. Cross one off and add one.
5. Sprint. A writing sprint is where you set a timer for a set amount of time , for example 30 minutes, and you write. I find 30 minute 45 minute and 1 hour sprints work for me. With a couple of sprints I can make my daily word count.
6. Don’t reinvent the wheel – this may not be true for others but the years I failed I switched to a cozy mystery and a women’s fiction novel. The slightly different styles of books were harder for me than chicklit and romance and I struggled.
I know some people think this is a ridiculous exercise and no one can write a decent novel in a month. What I say to that is – who knows what someone else can achieve in a month? Who knows what they might create or what joy it might bring them? Who knows what they’ll learn about themselves, about their writing style or the lessons they’ll learn that they can take with them into 2018?
It may not be for everyone but I love the challenge, the sense of achievement and the annual lesson on how much time I waste the rest of the year.
My final advice is to have fun. Seriously – if it’s not fun you’ll quit. If you’re not enjoying it that will come through in your writing and that’s no good either.
Have fun, get writing and let me know how you go.