NaNoWriMo is on in less than a month. November 1st is approaching, and with it the craziness that is NaNoWriMo. For those who have read this blog for less than a year, this is a project to write a novel (of 50K words) during the month of November. If this sounds insane to you, well…
If this doesn’t, you should consider trying your hand at this.
And if you decided to try, I am now going to join the rest of the civilized world, and post my nano survival tips. As a one-time participant and winner, I feel qualified.
- Prepare. This one is controversial, but hey. You have a full month to plan out a 50K word novel. Why waste it? What I do is plan to chapters, then break each chapter down into 500-word bits. This turned out well in the past.
- Write. If you’re like every other participant, you calculated the magic number to be 1667 words per day to complete nano. Forget it. Make your target a cool 2000. This gives you a tiny bit of leeway (really tiny), and is easier to calculate.
- Schedule. You are going to have to write 2000 words a day, a little more if you want a buffer. Try out how long it takes you to turn a prompt into several hundred words, and know your limits. Usually, all but the slowest novelists can turn out 1000 words an hour. I schedule one session in the morning, one in the evening — and an extra session on the weekend days. If you do this diligently, you get 16K words a week, which gives you a little extra leeway.
- Don’t block. Inspiration will, or will not, arrive. Write without inspiration, and without caring about it. Push through plot holes. Write bad dialogues.
- Don’t stop. Errors, typos, and so on are not a reason to stop. Continue in spite of them, and fix the problems after November. If you worry that you won’t remember, leave yourself a note right there — “but this dialogue needs to be changed” is an extra seven words right there.
- Don’t erase. This is one of the most common reasons to fail nano. Do not erase anything you wrote. You will be sorry for it. You can erase to your heart’s content after November.