I wasn’t going to write a blog today, but I just felt I had to give some tips for new and struggling NaNoWriMo writers out there. I was reading http://wideawakebutdreaming.wordpress.com/2012/10/28/bricking-out-the-world/
I known at first you’re one of three things:
- You’re excited belting out 1667, 3k or even 5k words everyday. However you start to fret by day 10 when you are mentally fried. (Or you think you can just do it on the weekends trying to type out 10-15k per weekend.) I had to pull that off on my first year and it really burns you out.
- You’re nervous barely getting 1667 words per day. Your muses aren’t home and your characters kept arguing with you while you try to make tea and they want you to drink hot chocolate. I would say take a “small” (no more than 30 minutes) and get inspired: look at pictures, watch favorite TV show or clips of it, find something that will bring you back into in the story.
- You’re a mixture of nervousness and excitement and my advice for you just keep the story nice and steady. If you feel yourself pulling away from the story leave yourself on a cliff hanger for the next day. Just stop in the middle of scene or even a sentence.
Things I’ve used to keep me going. . .
- I have a good support system: friends, groups, even the NaNoWriMo forums. You need to have some cheer you on at least wishing you luck. (There are many of them on the forum and FB groups.) My boyfriend is allowed to nag me during NaNoWriMo, especially to get my novel done. He had denied me attention until I got a certain word count.
- I have a reward system for myself. (I made a list of things I like: TV shows, candy, foods, soda, things I want like mugs or cute socks. Then I added word count value for them. For example: a piece of candy after 500 words or coffee mug after 15,000 words. Etc TV shows I usually give 3-5k, favorite meal 25k etc.) The main idea of the reward system is simply to make smaller goals to the bigger goal isn’t so overwhelming.
- Word Sprints are one of the reasons why I got 50K by day 21 last year and why I ended NaNoWriMo with 63k. (For those who don’t know word sprints are timed burst of writing. My favorite sprint is 20 minutes. For 20 minutes, you just write and after 20 minutes you post your word count. Most word processors have some kind of word count. There are programs on-line just good “word counting programs.”) There are also reverse sprints where they give you the word amount like 500 word or 1k and then you post the minutes when you get to that point. You get a lot of words out with that type of sprint, but too many of those really burn me out. It’s not really a race and there may be someone with more words than you, don’t worry, it’s just about accumulating words. (NaNoWriMo Forums and FB game both have word sprints usually going on or simply request one and others will follow.) The other great thing about a word sprint is if you are shy and don’t want to post that you only got like 50 words in 20 minutes, you don’t have to. You can also just get a timer and make your own sprint; set the timer for the time you and write during that time.
- I had strong characters that really just pulled the story through when I started to feel burned out. If you get a chance where your characters can just tell the story, let them.
- I was always writing. If I wasn’t at a computer, then I took a notebook and wrote at least notes for chapters, or scenes. I had even written an entire conversation with my characters, because something stuck my inspiration when I was out and about.
For those who end up having problems. . .
- 30 days happen faster than you think. You take things one day at a time. If you miss a day, you don’t have to double the next day, just add a few more words throughout the rest of the challenge.
- You are not the only struggling. There are others struggling as well, and don’t be afraid to ask the forums or FB groups for help.
- Life goes on. I still have to make dinner. I still have to see family and friends or do errands. I just take my writing with me. I use life in my story, it really helps. Someone pulled in front of you driving to work, make them a victim in your story. (It does help and it keep you out of jail. LOL)
- Have fun. I want my writing published, but this month is not focused on the editors, agents or publishers it’s about get 50,000 words on the first draft done. I love to write; I have fun writing!
I wish all of those doing NaNoWriMo this year the best of luck with your projects.