Hi all! If you don’t know, next month is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short. The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel between November 1 and November 30. There are lot of events and write-ins, and ways to meet your local community. The goal is to get everything on paper, no matter how “good” it is. Once you have a novel written, it’s much easier to edit and polish it up.
I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo a couple of times and only “won” (by writing 50,000 words) once. But that doesn’t stop me from trying! I will be participating this November, but with a tweak to the rules. I plan on writing 50,000 words of blog posts, instead of a novel! So you may not hear from me during November (except for schedule posts), but that means lots and lots of content for you all throughout the next year!
Since I’ve done NaNo quite a few times but only won once, I thought I’d share with you some tips I have, since I’ve definitely learned from the years that I didn’t win!
- Plan ahead. There always seems to be a debate whether it’s better to plan ahead, or just go with the flow. For me, I definitely need to plan ahead. I make sure to lay out 30 plot points before November starts, so I never have a day where I don’t know what to write. Sometimes I write two plot points in one day, sometimes it takes two days to write one. It’s just great to have that guideline so I don’t get stuck. It’s also helpful to have some generic story twists to throw in if you need more words or find a lull in your story.
- Do Reverse NaNo. (Full details/wiki article on this here.) This is the only way I’ve won NaNo. Normally, I run out of steam towards the end and then Thanksgiving happens and then I just never finish my project. With Reverse NaNo, instead of writing a flat 1,667 words a day (50,000 words divided by 30 days), you start with a high daily goal 3346 and then end with 1 words on the final day. This is great because it capitalizes on your energy at the beginning and accounts for the holiday season near the end of November. Plus, if you miss a day or two, it’s easy to make up by getting rid of your 1 word day. I also know people with inconsistent schedules that will take the varied daily word counts and assign different amounts to each day based on their schedule for the day.
- Don’t let yourself go home until you’ve reached your word count. I work a basic 9-5, so I have a pretty consistent schedule. The year I won, every day after work I would go to a coffee shop and write until I reached my word count. I wasn’t “allowed” to go home until I reached my goal for the day. This worked really well for me, because once I get home from work, I usually just want to relax and not do much, and then I forget to pull out my laptop and write.
Those are my best tips for NaNo! Except maybe “don’t get a new dog in November”, which is why I lost last year. But I don’t regret it. 🙂
Are any of you participating in NaNoWriMo? Or have you participated in the past? Do you have any tips or tricks for me?
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Great post! I’ve been on the fence about doing it, but I think I will after reading your tips. I have a big trip to England planned in the middle of the month, so I think doing the reverse word count would work very well for me! Thanks for posting!