My top tips for succeeding this insane November:
1. Give yourself the freedom to remember it’s just the first draft!
So many NaNo particpants (myself included), get caught up and stressed about plotting, comparing themselves to others, word count and even burn out. Guys, it’s absolutely bondage to tell yourself this draft has to be perfect! And not only that, but it’s unrealistic as well. Every author and pro NaNo-er will tell you to shove away the inner-editor that’s dying to come out. That’s great for December, but NOT for a month of high-speed and pressure writing!
2. Use Your Resources!
Websites and media are among many of a writers closest friends-especially during an insane month like November!
- Pinterest. This is great for boards filled with writing advice, character photos, and making group boards with all of your NaNo friends! (Me and my NaNoWriMo brainstorming group have a Pinterest board chock-full of inspiration. See it here.)
- Spotify. This is perfect for the music-lover. You can stuff playlists full of non-lyrics scores for writing, or your favorite songs for inspiration.
3. Print out a writing schedule.
Whether this means a literal writing schedule where you plan out when you’ll write, or one online that shows you how many words you need per day, I recommend finding one, and if you can, stick to it! Obviously I won’t be able to write 1,667 words per day, but on the days that are less busy, I’ll be trying to exceed that!
4. Catch a vision.
It’s certainly NOT necessary to plot out every moment of your novel, you must let it flow and be spontaneous! Not just follow a dry itinerary! BUT, I do feel like it’s important to go off of something, whether that be characters or setting or how you want the attitude to feel.
Last year I attempted, I think 20,000? I reached 10,000, but honestly I don’t think I would’ve hit even that much if it hadn’t have been for my amazing support group! We had word count contests and so many readings of our work. We never edited, never really critiqued, but there was so much love and belief in each other’s abilities to hit 50K, that we were bound to do better after one of our meetings!
6. Don’t go for the cliches…..Or do.
Love at first sight…..Boy is rebellious and girl is innocent….They hate each other at first then fall in love…. A main character that comes from a broken home and just needs love….Female protagonist is overly kick-butt and can out-fight any man…Ya know, whatever. These cliches disgust me. I’ll just be honest with you! I think they’re over-used (especially in YA fiction) and need to be abandoned. BUT, if you feel like using one of them for your own enjoyment, go for it! It might not be published if done un-tastefully, BUT try it out. The goal for November is to get you used to writing as much as is possible for you.
7. Lastly, remember this:
Remember the purpose behind National Novel Writing Month. It’s to get you writing EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Whether you’ve been a writer for 10 minutes or 10 years, this is the perfect opportunity for you. Make it work, don’t let your guard down and start comparing yourself to other writers. You’ve got this! It’s not so much about what you write, whether that be a deep fantasy novel, 5 novellas, a poem a day, journal-ing or even letters to people you love, save it in a document and feel good that you’ve participated in the worldwide phenomenon that is NaNoWriMo.
~By His Grace,