National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo 2017 officially kicked off today. With a goal of writing 50,000 words in 30 days NaNoWriMos take on a huge task. If you have hopped on this crazy writing train or are thinking of joining the movement, here are 11 tips to help you succeed.
Tip #1 Start Writing
The Idea of writing 50,000 words in 30 days can be very intimidating, but as thousands of people have proved, it is totally possible to do. But, you can’t do it – you can’t be a NaNoWriMo winner if you don’t start writing. So, get writing! Schedule Your Writing
Tip #2 Schedule Your Writing
Make your writing a scheduled appointment that you must keep every day. Designate your writing time – whether it is before work, after work, before school after school, after the kids have gone to bed. Carve out your writing time and stick to it!
Tip #3 Write Every Chance You Get
Don’t just write during your scheduled writing time. Write all the time. Every single chance you have. Write while on the train during your commute. Write during your lunch break. Write between classes. Write while sitting in the doctor’s office waiting room. Just WRITE during your down time. Get the words out and on the paper/screen.
Tip # 4 Keep Writing
It’s easy to get burned out when you have pressure on you. When you have this challenge over your head to write so much so fast. But don’t give up! Just keep writing. Keep at it. Don’t give up halfway through. You can do it.
Tip #5 Remember this is a First Draft
The words don’t have to be perfect. The flow doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s okay if there are plot holes. It’s okay if the description isn’t just right or your character’s name is just “Character B”. NaNoWriMo is about getting the first draft written. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Which also leads to the next tip.
Tip #6 Don’t Edit!
Don’t get caught up trying to edit and make your NaNoWriMo project perfect. Editing is for next month. November is for writing – no matter how imperfect the writing may be. It’s okay for it to be messy. To not make perfect sense. It’s okay if the sentence is incomplete or if the grammar is poor. That can be fixed later.
Tip # 7 Try Word Wars or Sprints
Have Word Wars or Writing Sprints with your writer friends. The challenge and competition can help you focus and get lots of words out in a short span of time. Challenge each other to write as many words as possible in a certain small period of time. (5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15, 20, 30). Facebook Writing groups are the perfect place to hold these. Schedule the Word Wars ahead of time and then post when the Word Wars begin… have people comment on the post the number of words that they were able to get during each sprint.
Tip # 8 Follow the Muse Wherever She May Go
Don’t Worry if Your Characters or Plot Take You in an Unexpected Direction. Sometimes characters and books have a mind of their own. Things happen that you weren’t expecting. Don’t fight it if this happens. Just let the Muse guide you and see where it goes. What comes naturally is usually the best writing.
Tip #9 Your Word Count Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect Every Day
It’s okay if some days you don’t hit the magic number of 1,667. Don’t freak out if you fall behind or just can’t hit that number a few days. You will make up those words on “Catch Up Days.” On the weekend when you have more time or on special days when the Muse is alive, and the words are flowing like a stream.
Tip #10 Attend Write-Ins
Attending write-ins will get you out of the house, but allow you to still focus on your goal. There is something magic about being in a room with other writers. The creative magic fills the air. Going to write-ins helps you build invaluable friendships and connections. Other writers can be a major source of knowledge, inspiration, and support. Don’t miss out on the benefits of these events.
Tip #11 Reward Yourself!
Reward yourself when you hit benchmark word goals. NaNoWriMo is arduous work and you deserve to celebrate! Have a big reward you can work towards when you hit your 50k and smaller rewards throughout the month when you hit 5,000. 10,000. 25,000 and so on… Or however you deem fit to be the best motivation and celebration for yourself.
Good luck this month! Keep Writing! Don’t give up! You can do this! WRITE ALL THE WORDS AND DON’T EDIT!
Write on, Writers!
Michelle C. Hillstrom – Author