NaNoWriMo Tips and Tricks

November is that month when a lot of people try their hand at writing a novel. The task of writing fifty thousand words might seem easy at first, but you’ll (undoubtedly) get stuck somehow. A part that’s missing, a part that doesn’t work, or maybe the words don’t want to flow anymore. It’s easy to lose motivation, and when you get behind with your word count, you might even start to panic.

So here are some useful tips for successful NaNoWriMoing.

1. Tell everyone you’re writing a novel. Your relatives, your friends, the mailman, the landlady, anyone needs to know. Tell them you’re going to do it in just one month. The more you tell people about this crazy endeavor of yours, the more likely it is that some of them will keep asking you about it. And you don’t want to disappoint them, do you? This is a good way to keep you motivated.

2. Outline, make a plan, or just come up with a bunch of ideas of scenes. But don’t overdo it. I found that the more I know about a story (or the more I tell people all about it,) the less I feel the need to write it down. I have 3-4 different ideas for novels that plot-wise are complete, but I don’t feel like writing them. Indeed, this might not be your case, but for me every story I write has to feel like an adventure, a journey of discovery.

3. Make time to write. No matter what. No excuses.

4. Don’t check your word count every ten seconds or less. Just write.

5. If you don’t write enough, don’t panic. Don’t try too hard to write more the next day. Just write. Take a deep breath, relax, and write. Some days you’ll write five thousand words, some days you’ll write only a single sentence. It’s called being balanced in an artistically unbalanced manner.

6. Experiment. A lot. Write at night, write in the morning, write in the bus. Try to find out what setting and time of day inspire you most. You’ll never know if you don’t try.

7. Remember, NaNoWriMo is for fun. No one expects you (and you’re not supposed) to write a brilliant novel. Set out to have fun, to write a crappy first draft. In that regard, don’t worry about plot holes and inconsistencies and characters dying twice in the same chapter. That’s what editing is for.

8. Don’t edit. Just write. It’ll make it much easier for you to reach your goal. Actually, don’t even think. Just write.

9. If you get stuck, don’t panic. It will come to you. Do a brainstorming session, go out, have some fun, drink a couple of beers, play some darts. Read some books, watch a movie. You never know what might inspire you. If you have the time, fall in love, get your heart broken. That usually helps quite a lot.

10. Last but not least, don’t let people read your novel. Not now. That’s why it’s called work in progress. You don’t want feedback now, you don’t want people to tell you what’s wrong with your story (that way you’ll either be tempted to revise, or even worse, give up). Just write. That’s the most important tip of all: just write.

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