About a week ago, I went to my first Nanowrimo kick-off party. It was fun, and there were lots of first time Nanos. They naturally started asking for advice on how to accomplish this great task. I heard lots of great tips, and I am going to try and remember them all…
1. Some people outline and plot, others go by the seat of their pants. Both tactics have led to 50,000 words in 30 days. You are the only one who knows what works for you, so pick whichever you are most comfortable with.
2. Dedicate some real time and energy to your characters, because many times, a well-developed character may take you in a brand new direction…and add thousands of words to your count.
3. Tell people in your life what you are doing. First, this will keep them from completely derailing you. Second, it will give you a pep squad. Third, it will give you people to answer to if you try to “take a day off.”
4. Remember, this is simply a first draft. I call it the Crap Draft. You can always go back and fix it in December.
5. I’m serious about number 4. Don’t try to edit in November. If it won’t add words to your count, don’t do it.
6. For first timers, it may be good to designate a time each day to write. It keeps you focused and consistent. Let everyone know you are not available at this time.
7. Get a mascot, something that you pull out at writing time to remind you to focus and keep your eyes on the prize.
8. If you start strong, don’t slow down to “pace yourself.” Kick out as much as you can early, because you will thank your lucky stars for those extra words by week three. Trust me.
9. Celebrate the mini-milestones. I do something nice at 5,000, 15,000, 25, 000, and so on. Considering all the awesome movies coming out in November, I think my rewards will be movies (I’m looking at Unstoppable and Harry Potter).
10. Finally, just write. Don’t fret over if it sucks, if it makes sense, or if you will even finish. Just write. Regardless of whether you hit 50,000 or not, you will be quite impressed with what you have accomplished in one month.
Of course, if you hit or pass 50,000, even better. 🙂
Best Wishes to all the 2010 Nanowrimo writers! Let’s do this!