Well, here we are. The day before the day before NaNoWriMo. Considering that tomorrow is Saturday, I’m going to assume this is my last day to prepare myself for this year. Because I’m not much of a prepper anyway, so I find it hard to get myself to sit down and outline/build characters while I’m home all day looking for ways to get out of my apartment.
Considering that it’s been a long time since I’ve been successful at this 50,000 word venture, I drafted out some tips that I think will benefit me and whoever else might be reading this post.
- If you can, stay up past midnight as a kick-off party for yourself and try to get to your day 1 goal of 1,667. This is my plan of action personally, and it always worked for me when I did it. That way, whatever you end up writing during the day on November 1st is getting you ahead! It’s easy to start losing steam during the 3rd week. And for some, that’s when they quit – because they get behind. If you let yourself get ahead early, you’ll have less to worry about later.
- Get out and get some fresh air when you need it. Seriously, don’t force yourself to be a hermit. Forcing the words out will make you so frustrated. Get out, sit outside for awhile. Go get coffee at your closest coffee shop. Just go.
- Reward yourself. I’m not saying you need to go spend a bunch of money on “prizes” but a treat works. Every couple thousand words or so. Or even one big prize if you win the entire thing. Something you really, really want.
- If that doesn’t work, withhold basic needs. Err on the side of caution here. But it’s pretty simple. Lunch time but falling behind? 1,000 words and then you can eat. Have to go to the bathroom? Finish 200 words first. I’ve done this (mostly for college papers nearing their deadlines, but hey whatever works). But please don’t hurt yourself. Pick realistic goals.
- Write best with music? Get a playlist ready! I personally prefer writing when it’s quiet. To each their own.
- Do not let yourself edit anything! I do my best to not read what I’ve written during NaNo. And if I do, it’s only so that I can continue wherever I left off. Even if your character’s name changed in the middle of the novel and you just realized it (I’ve done it!), wait until December 1st to change all the wrong ones. Because you will find yourself changing more than just names.
- If you have an active region, go to some events! My region primarily does events 45 minutes from me, but I’ve put in my two cents that if anyone wants to meet up closer to me, I’d be happy to go. Being among other writerly people is a great way to motivate yourself. Plus there’s occasionally free stuff involved 😉
- If your region isn’t too active, or you just prefer writing alone, check out the forums. I post over there a lot. There’s a forum for everything. Need some music recommendations? Research help? Procrastination fun? There’s something for everyone. Genre specific and age specific forums. I love posting on them and giving advice or talking about our successes and fails.
- Word. Wars. During my winning years, my best word count days were the ones I was actively taking part in word wars through a NaNoWriMo IRC chat group. I’m hoping they’re still active! There’s a forum with links to some chat groups doing them, or just forum threads where they start wars. Basically you start together, and for a set amount of time, write furiously. Get as many words as you can. At the end, the most words WIN. But really everyone wins, because you just added words to your word count! If you’re feeling like you need some real pressure, try WriteorDie. It has a trial mode, but I think it costs money now? I’m not sure, I’ve only ever played with it.
- Most importantly, just keep writing. Even if you start to believe that your novel belongs nowhere else except for the trash can, DON’T STOP. At the very least, you’re laying a foundation for a second draft later. You’ll know what is good, what is bad. You’ll have a feel of your characters. When you hit 50,000 words and print your certificate, the sense of gratification you will feel is amazing. You did what most people scoff at. I’m sure we’ve all told friends and family we’re writing 50,000 words in 30 days. They laughed at the idea. Like that’s possible. Well bam. in your face. So don’t stop.
Those are my tips. I hope you’re all ready for this! In less than 48 hours, we will all be on our way to November 30th!