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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NaNoWriMo Begins

It’s the first of November, the first day of National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo, and all around the world determined writers are strapped to their seats for the big event. The Aussie contingent are already flying through and American’s should be signing in to start very soon. There are so many blogs that tell you how to plan for NaNoWriMo so I won’t go there. But what I am going to share is my experiences with the event to show you how to survive it if you are writing every day.

At the beginning of the day:
  • Decide what you want for dinner. It is amazing how that small decision can make all the difference in the world to your writing day.
  • Decide how many words you want to achieve that day. While you’ve probably already planned on a certain number already, [30 days/ 50,000 words = 1668 words on average per day] it’s good to be flexible. Life has a habit of getting in the way.
  • Get outside for some air and some exercise. If you are going to be frantically typing during each session you need to have your head in a good place.

In the middle of the day:
  • Get outside and stretch. Fresh air is good for you. So too is focusing your gaze on a point more distant than your laptop screen. You’ll be doing this every day and your eyes will thank you at the end of the month.
  • Assess how you are going. If you are on track, congratulate yourself. But if you are not -- fairly judge why the words are not happening. It’s impossible to write when your family drop in and wont leave. Start a chart so you can see that you’re doing everything you can.
  • Eat a healthy lunch away from the computer. Unplugging even for a short time is essential for a month long event.

At the end of the day:
  • Pat yourself on the back, add up your words and write the tally down. Every day is a little closer to the goal of reaching 50K. Some days are good, some great, some a barren wasteland. What matters is how you view the results. Even bad days can be good ones, especially if you need to change direction
  • Make notes for the direction of the next days work. You will often get ideas for the next scene right when you should be stopping. Rather than thinking about them all night instead of sleeping, write them down in point form and leave them next to your computer.
  • Go chase the ones you love. Writing flat out for a month can be very isolating. Most people outside your writing partners (and maybe your other half) will not understand the time and effort it takes to work this hard so quickly. You don’t want them looking at you blankly at the end of the month and wondering who you are.

NaNoWriMo taught me how to write fast and meet deadlines. I really wish everyone the best with their NaNo project this year. Have you got tips for the big event?

Heather Boyd ~ Lady Wicked


  1. Great advice! Thank you :-)) Just what I needed today.

  2. I have never done NaNoWriMo, so I don't really have anything to offer here except for wishing everyone else good luck!

  3. My best advice is to remember that it won't be the end of the world if you don't "win." You know, the first time I tried to do it, I put so much pressure on myself that the words I did write were crap and had to be tossed, and half the time I didn't get my word count for the day in so I panicked. It's not worth that.

    It's better just to set yourself a couple of small word chunk goals for the day, and get through those. If you break it into bite-sized pieces, it is much easier. :)

    Good luck to everyone doing NaNo. I'm kinda doing it this year, and kinda not. I'm not working on a new project...but I need to get in about 50K anyway. :)

  4. Great advice, ladies! I might try next year, but it just doesn't really jive with what I'm trying to do this month. Good luck to those of you doing it this year. :)

  5. Good luck, everyone! Maybe some day I'll be able to participate. Y'all are an inspiration.