Happy November, and happy first day of NaNoWriMo to those of you who are participating!
I have fond memories of the madness of NaNoWriMo (also known as National Novel Writing Month). I’ve participated many a time, and won a couple of times– one of those times was working on the book that would become my debut novel, Threats of Sky and Sea. Although, in those days, I was still referring to it by its working title, Apparent.
I’ve used the energy of NaNoWriMo in the past as a revision month–what I called NaNoReMo. This year, I’m not participating directly, but I do have some lofty goals.
Namely, this one: I plan to finish this draft of Over Raging Tides (Lady Pirates #1) before Thanksgiving Day in the U.S.
I’m shooting for this draft to be about 50,000 words, so I have approximately 20,000 to go.
Over Raging Tides will be released in March 2018, and as, I’ve booked some promotion and a slot with my editor, I am sticking to these hard and fast deadlines.
To that end, I’m kicking off November 1st with a goal of 3,000 words today. And I thought that I would share some tips I’ve found helpful, as well as wisdom I’ve earned from my time in the NaNoWriMo trenches.
- One of the most common pieces of NaNoWriMo advices that you’ll see floating around, is also one of the most helpful: “Get the words down. You can fix it later.” Even when it isn’t NaNoWriMo, I find myself repeating these wise words. “Get the words down. You can fix it later.” That, my friends, is what revisions are for. But you can’t edit a blank page.
- Turn off the internet and eliminate the distraction of social media. I like to use the Freedom app so that I can still google a piece of research, but sometimes shutting off your wifi will work just as well.
- Write or Die is your best friend. Or, at least, it’s mine. When I’m stuck, there’s nothing like the threat of a screaming baby, screeching violin, or wailing alarm that gets me to put down some words, even if they’re terrible. See also, Written? Kitten! if you prefer positive reinforcement.
- Similarly, part of the fun of NaNoWriMo is finding the community in it. In years past, I often met my word-count through word sprints that people on Twitter were taking part in. Even if your Twitter follow list isn’t participating in NaNoWriMo, try following @NaNoWordSprints and playing along there.
- You know that saying, “Comparison is the thief of joy?” I’ve found it to be true. Celebrate your friends’ word counts as you celebrate your own, but don’t worry about how many more or less words they’ve written than you.
- Take advantage of some of the special offers that NaNoWriMo offers to its participants. I started writing in Scrivener during the free trial offered to NaNo-ers (or Wrimos, if you prefer) and liked it so much that I used the coupon code I was offered when NaNoWriMo was over to buy the full version. I rarely draft in anything else now. In my opinion, its planning features and functionality for writers are unmatched, but if you’re interested in trying out other software, there are other offers available.
It is OKAY if you don’t “win” NaNoWriMo. Any words you get down this month are words that you didn’t have before. You made progress! And that should be celebrated. No matter what.
Are you participating in NaNoWriMo, or do you have other goals this month? What advice do you find helpful in meeting those goals?