I’ve decided NOT to do NaNoWriMo in November.
I feel a little weird because I’ve attempted it (sometimes half assed I grant you) every year since 2006 and succeeded 3 times, and I’m not counting this summer’s success at Camp NaNoWriMo.
I will be writing in November, but I feel that I’ve gotten what I’ve needed out of NaNoWriMo and now it’s time to move on and focus on other things. NaNo taught me that I could write every day and finish a draft in a reasonable amount of time. I learned that I can write and write well when I have a good story idea, decent notes and detailed outline. I learned that discovery writing is a sure path to failure for me, even though I enjoy doing it.
If you are beginning as a writer, I highly recommend trying the National Novel Writing Month challenge at least once. You will not regret it.
If you are doing NaNoWriMo this year and you care to receive some advice from one who’s been there, read on!
I originally wrote this advice out while commenting on Chuck Wendig’s Terrible Minds writer’s blog and I felt it was worthwhile posting it here as well.
Beyond making time for writing in November (duh!), these are the things that have helped me the most to succeed in writing 50K in days:
– Have a story idea in your head that you love. You’ll come to hate it before the November is done, but the more you love it at the start, the further you’ll get before it becomes a slog.
– Have an outline BEFORE November 1st and as many notes as possible. The better your outline and notes, the less you’ll be stuck staring at a blank page around week 3.
– Early on, when you’re stoked. Write MORE than your quota. Your daily quota to make it is 1667 words daily. Set your quota at 2000 and EXCEED IT as much as you can when you start. This will help when you run into days where you have trouble getting words down.
– Don’t try to reach the END of your story. If you end up at 50K and you write “The End”, you’ve done it wrong. It’s not a novel and you wasted time planning it to end up this way. Just write. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to reach 50K in a month, not to complete a story in a month…just make it to 50K then commit to spending a few more days finishing. I’ve learned from experience it’s easier to trim a 100K story to 80K than to make a 50K novella into a 90K novel.
These four bits of advice are the key to my succeeding. When I look back, I failed every time I did not follow these four points and I succeeded EVERY TIME I did.
Now get writing and good luck! Let me know how it goes!