Advice on NaNoWriMo

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Well, in less than a month it will be National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Are you ready?

I’m not ready yet, and I haven’t even decided yet if I’m participating. It might be a game time decision. That said, I did “win” NaNoWriMo the last two years, so I figured I’d share what I’ve learned with all of you who are going to participate. Plus, writing this just might push me in the direction of participation.

My NaNoWriMo Advice

  1. Math Matters – 50,000 words in 30 days. That means you need to average 1,667 words a day. Write less on one day and you have to make it up on another. It really is that simple.
  2. Calendar Matters – No go get a calendar and turn to November. Anything jump out? Thanksgiving? Are you really going to write 1,667 words that day? If not, adjust your words/day count (it’s 1,724 words per day if you count on 0 for Thanksgiving Day).Β  Be realistic with yourself. If you don’t think you will be as productive on weekends, adjust your word per day count accordingly.
  3. Start STRONG – Use that opening day momentum and write as many words as you can on the first day of NaNoWriMo. This will give you a bit of cushion for those days when inspiration isn’t there or you are just too busy to write.
  4. Don’t fall behind – Do not go to bed without hitting your word count for the day. You fall behind a bit one day, and you will just have that much more to write the next.
  5. Planning helps – I’m not much of a planner or outliner, but the more planning you do this month, the easier it will be to write next month. Put it this way, if you are planning in November, you are taking time away from writing.
  6. You are writing draft 1 – Don’t worry about getting things perfect. You won’t. Just remember the point is to get a first draft down on paper/ones and zeros. Editing can happen another month.
  7. Have fun with the community – There are thousands of people taking part in NaNoWriMo. Befriend a few of them and keep each other honest. This is key for those who have trouble with self-motivation.
  8. Have fun with the writing – 50,000 words is a challenge, and it can be quite torturous. Still, have fun with it.
  9. Caffeine!

Stick to those points and I think you have a shot at being successful in November. Anybody have anything to add?

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18 thoughts on “Advice on NaNoWriMo

  1. I know I shouldn’t do NaNo. I really shouldn’t. But I’m going to. *palm-face* I’m working on an outline today, even though I’m a pantser at heart, because past NaNo experience has taught me that I suck at organic plotting.

    I think you’re still on my buddy list from other years. (I’m Island Girl at NaNo.) I hope you decide to NaNo — I need someone to kick my butt when I get behind (cuz I will). πŸ˜‰

  2. This is all excellent advice! Congrats on making it through two years running!

    I was thinking there’d be no way I’d make it… it really depends on how much marketing headway I can make this month… but I have a hard time turning down a challenge. And I really need to get back to writing full time…

  3. I need caffeine to get through a typical day. If I were doing that I would need nonstop 5 hour energy shots.

    I have never done anything like this. But those are awesome guidelines. Maybe I should give it a try….

  4. I think I’m in again this year. Great tips, by the way. I’m going to do a lot more planning ahead of time this year. Last year I just jumped in and then had to spend the next year plotting and rewriting, and I STILL have a mess on my hands.

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