*sings* It’s the most craziest tiiiiime— of the year.
You say it’s too early to be singing parodies of Christmas songs, but the Santa Claus decor has been out for a while. I’ll sing all I want.
(Note: This post was written last year when I first participated in NaNoWriMo 2016, but since I’ve stayed true to these writing tips, I’m keeping this post up for all the future years of NaNoWriMo writers. You’re welcome.)
- Outline on index cards. I got the idea from the post here on one of my favorite writing blogs You Write Fiction. It looks very helpful, efficient, and organized, and organized is the one word I’m trying to focus on the most when it comes to writing. A more recent post on You Write Fiction talks specifically on how to outline your NaNoWriMo novel. Talk about helpful! You may want to keep this one as a reference for outlining any story, really.
- Listen to music. Try writing to different types of music and see which one really gets you going. I like film scores because they were originally composed for stories (on the screen) and I can easily find some that match with the emotion in certain scenes. I have written a couple posts talking about the importance of listening to music while writing: Writing to Film Scores: Emotion from Music to Paper (my guest post on Hannah Heath’s blog) and Music Inspiration for Writing Epic Scenes: Film Scores and Other Orchestral Artists.
- Keep a schedule and STICK TO THE SCHEDULE. There’s some bold caps for you. Why? Because sticking to a schedule is important and I don’t feel like repeating it. I have to admit, however, that making a schedule and sticking to it is my weak spot: What am I even doing with all the time that I could be writing? But remember that you have a life to live, and that means you should have priorities to do, unfortunately, that come before your NaNo writing and prepping. For example, I have to spend hours solving sick math formulas and equations that I would never ever use in real life before I can spend time writing a completely wonderful, fantasic, and very edifying novel about things that never could happen in real life.
- Cut some things out of your schedule, if your schedule is already busy. Just don’t cut off your chores, exercise, and meals. You want to stay alive so you can write, right? Just inform people you’ve stopped dance lessons or stopped certain hobbies because you’re nothing but a poor, insane writer who thinks too much. They’ll probably believe you.
- Don’t waste that precious time you could be using to write. So get off of Twitter or your texting device and please do stop watching the horrible news that will corrode your hope and stain your patriotism. And don’t wander around the kitchen poking in the fridge or aimlessly pacing with a chip bag (which is me). You just added a ton of time for writing to your schedule … how are you going to get around to writing 1668 words per day if you waste time? Yeah, I didn’t think you had a good answer for that one.
- Prepare like crazy. Don’t go into NaNo blind. And when you get ideas for your novel, do not rely on your memory. Write down those ideas right away, even if it’s the middle of the night and you’re half asleep, or those ideas will float away and get lost in the dark depths of your subconscious.
- Develop characters. Write down a plot. Come up with an ending (which I still need to do). Don’t worry about the details; they’ll come to you while you’re writing. Don’t worry about having a specific theme (unless the theme is the main thing that started your idea). Every story has a theme, even if you weren’t trying to in the first place. Don’t even think about it, and you’ll surprise yourself.
- But what if I don’t end up writing 50K words in 30 days? Don’t tear out your hair. Just remind yourself that you were challenged and that being challenged is a good thing. Participating in NaNo will have improved not just your writing skills and typing speed, but your character, your self discipline and organization and scheduling. You’ll look back on the year you didn’t make it to 50K and tell yourself, “You know what, I was crazy. How did I think I’d make it to 50K? Thankfully I learned a lot along the way, and next November I’ll learn from this year and work harder and get crazier and maybe I’ll win.” Yoda’s quote do or do not, there is no try is probably the motto for all you NaNo participants, and that’s all very well, but if you don’t make 50K, you’ll just pound yourself for not being good enough. Try going with the well known encouragement If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Next year. Next year.
Are you particpating in NaNoWriMo this year? What novel are you working on and which genre? Comment below; I love hearing about everyone’s writing projects and cheering you on! 50K. We can do this.