My Top NaNoWriMo Tips

nano_participant_icon_largeI managed to complete the 50,000 word challenge back in 2007, and only once did I attempt to do it again. For those of you out there, hoping to complete this challenge, I offer some basic tips;

Have your plot outlined. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but writing like a madman (madwoman), you don’t want to find yourself midway through, and stuck on a plot point.

This was what stopped me the one time I attempted the NaNoWriMo again. A week into it, and the story sort of fell apart. I feel behind, felt horrible, and even found my creative writing wanted to write non-fiction anyway.

writersthoughtsThrow perfection out the window. Forget about spelling correctly, finding the ‘right word’, or formatting. Write like the flames of Hell are at your heels, and get the story out there.

Remember that is, after all, a rough draft anyway, and you’ll fix misspellings, punctuation errors, and changing words (and complete sentences) through the editing process.

writer01Find your writing ritual. I found a glass of Rum and Soda with a tiny lit candle at my lap-side, after my son was in bed, and the pets fed. This marked ‘writing time’, where my door was shut and I was to be left alone.

I preferred nights, but during the day, when my son was in school (he’s homeschooled now), provided me that vital alone time to write without interruption.

Don’t forget to back up! I knew of two authors who had their laptops quit midway through the month of November, all their writing completely lost. I strongly recommend a cloud drive (Dropbox) or a USB flash drive. It doesn’t hurt to install on the drive word processor like OpenOffice should you need it. This will enable you to use ANY computer and work off the USB drive.

Enjoy the Journey! I never published the novel I finished, but the time and effort of NaNoWriMo earned me something more.

  • I learned that I could write 50,000 words in thirty days. This averaged 1700 words a day, and more if I fell behind, but I could do it.
  • I learned that my husband and son were so much more supportive than I thought they’d be. (Hubby brought me coffee every day!)
  • I learned its important to be selective to whom you invite to join you in this challenge. A so-called friend became very competitive, instead of supportive, offering no support whatsoever. Even her husband made rude comments to me, midway through the contest.
  • I learned the value of writing crap. This is perhaps the most important element of NaNoWriMo, to give yourself permission to write crap so you can focus on the STORY, knowing you will edit later.

Post in comments your own experiences with National Novel Writing Month, and if you’re taking the challenge this year.

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