NaNoWriMo (National Writing Month) starts November 1 and lasts until November 30th, where you furiously write out a 50,000 page novel. It can be done. I won last year, much to my surprise. If I can do it, just about anyone else can. Here are some tips I found useful or discovered myself;
- Find your best writing time. Many writers admit to preferring a time over others. Some find evening hours provides the time when the mind is sharp, while others prefer the quiet hours of the dawn. I myself prefer evening because its less likely the phone rings, people visit, and even my son is safely tucked into bed.
- Cut down on distractions. A shut door (with a lock) or headphones help cut down on the things that can pull you from your writing. It doesn’t hurt to ask your family to respect your space, and the time spent writing. I discovered this is especially true any time I write- not just in the month of November.
- Streamline your life. Cut back on the little things that waste time. Watching TV can turn into recording your shows to view later, check email only once a day, and ask for help to get chores done.
- Find your writing totem. This was a tip I found in the No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty (founder of NaNoWriMo) who suggests a hat, t-shirt, or just about anything to wear or use to establish your writing spark. I wear fingerless gloves when I write, and a friend of mine prefers lighting a candle when it comes to serious writing. Another writer I know uses a special headset that cuts out noise levels.
- If stuck, move to another scene. Accept you’re going to edit your work, so if you’re stuck with one scene, just switch to somewhere else in the story.
- Adding to scenes counts as writing. Some might argue this is editing, but if you’re adding description, dialog, or plot elements, then this counts to the 50,000 word goal.