Hey all! We’re in the final few hours before NaNoWriMo begins. I’m pretty excited for the start of everything. I always get this way. It’s not like I’ve been depriving myself of writing outside of NaNoWriMo – I had a decently productive writing month despite having two rather slow weeks (I hit 42k for the month, which all things considered, isn’t all that bad!)
But for now, I get to sit here and wait excitedly for the start of NaNoWriMo. It’s weird, I do between 42k-70k a month and yet I still get a little nervous for NaNoWriMo sometimes. Maybe it’s the added pressure? I don’t know. Granted, my monthly counts are spread across multiple projects, so I can see where 50k on ONE SOLITARY PROJECT might make me a little bit nervous.
Anyway, here are some of my tips and tricks for getting through NaNoWriMo! I’ll periodically check in throughout the month as well – I’ll try to give suggestions on what’s working for me this time around.
outline outline outline
I’m some weird combination of a pantser and a planner – I think the website is calling it a ‘plantser’ or something cutesy like that. But I thoroughly believe in having an outline to use as a road map. And that’s what I consider it. A road map.
Because you can deviate from a road map if you want more adventure. If you want to find your own way. Sometimes characters don’t respond the way you anticipated once you’re writing.
Roll with it. See what happens.
The outline is there as a guideline. NaNoWriMo is about ‘literary abandon’. Remember, NaNo is a first draft. It doesn’t need to be perfect, it just needs to be written.
but even with the outline I’m stuck!
NaNo has little daily prompts of what you could incorporate into your novel. There’s writing exercises all over twitter and tumblr. Use those resources, they might be a little nonsensical at first, they might not seem like they fit with your novel.
But you can alter them so they do fit.
And who knows, maybe one of those prompts will have the exact twist you’ve been needing for your book. Maybe it’ll give you some huge amount of inspiration and the rest of your book will be a cakewalk.
And if that doesn’t work?
Writing sprints! Find a writing buddy to work with, that’s always helped me when I’m feeling unproductive and stuck. There’s something about working with someone else that just makes everything easier. Maybe it’s because writing is so solitary that just having that camaraderie is really nice.
Facebook has a very active NaNoWriMo group as well – they’d probably be happy to help you get unstuck if you are stuck!
middle of the month slump
Alright. A lot of people have reported that once day 10-16 roll around, they’re starting to really feel the stress of NaNoWriMo, the excitement from the start of the month is waning and you’re just starting to feel tired.
And, if you’re in America, you’re getting closer and closer to Thanksgiving, which means so much going on.
My ways of combating the middle of the month slump have largely relied on me being overzealous in the early days so I can taper down to a more ‘normal’ pace by the middle of the month.
Writing sprints are a good way to have dedicated writing time. Short bursts net you more words than you realize. Just be sure to give yourself ample breaks – trying to power through when your body needs rest or something different isn’t a good way to get your word count higher.
take care of yourself
I think this goes without saying – but be sure to take care of yourself. You know the biggest reasons my word count has stopped?
Because I got sick.
Or during Camp NaNoWriMo this year, because my hand joints were aching so badly that I couldn’t concentrate on anything.
Taking care of yourself is far more important than getting the big word counts. Your health is most important. So…take care of yourself.
There’s six hours until the writing starts for me. I can’t wait. I’m really excited to be tackling the last novel in this series. And nervous. But mainly excited.
Here’s to hoping we all do well!
Happy writing! and Happy Halloween~