And just like that, November is upon us.
For regular NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) participants like myself, this means that we only have about a day left to visit friends, catch up on TV episodes (sorry, True Blood, Season 4 will have to wait), and prepare for the toughest but most amazing month of the year.
Most of this blog has been focused on one book, BLAQUE. I have written, slept, and bled for this book since 2010. The book wants me to leave it the hell alone for a while. That’s what this blog absence was about. There really wasn’t anything new going on writing-wise, and the real world was giving me enough to think about (a new, more positive spiritual outlook and a new job being the two biggest changes).
Then last week, it hit me.
I wasn’t even thinking of competing in Nanowrimo this year. In fact, I was intending to avoid it like the plague, especially since I barely escaped with 50,000 words in 2011. Then, my muses plopped a single word into my head:
I know, a far cry from the Korean spy world. But as I started to research fairy lore (because I didn’t know jack about fairies), something incredible happened. Characters began to materialize, and with them came a pretty decent plot…a plot that could, you guessed it, sprout a sequel.
So now, less than 30 hours before Nanowrimo starts, I have a strong outline, a cast of colorful Fae and human characters, and that familiar sense of happy anxiety I always get just before the gunshot on November 1st.
Before I go, a bit of advice for any new Wrimos that stumbled upon this blog:
Hit the ground running. This is my 5th dive into the Nano pool, and trust me, having a surplus word count now will save you later. To be precise, it’ll save you right at Week Three.
More on Week Three: This week will literally feel like Hell. This is usually Thanksgiving week, and this is what determines the winners. If you can push through this week and still maintain your word count (or surpass it!), the odds are in your favor.
Pace yourself. My math says that you have to write about 1,667 words a day to guarantee a place in the Victory Circle. That target will get your there with a few words to spare.
Write. Every. Day. This nearly killed my chances last year. Having a nice 1.5 day cushion of words, I took Thanksgiving and the day after off last year. Yeah, huge mistake. I still won, but that was the most stressful final week I have ever experienced. Please don’t put yourself through that. Even if you have a five-day cushion, keep writing!
DO NOT EDIT. You are going to be very tempted to do this, but that’s what December (or 2013) is for. Don’t even look at spell check. Your thesaurus can wait, too. If it’s not adding words to your count, don’t bother with it.
Personally, I’ve been very successful in years where I did a detailed outline. I usually shun outlines, but for this competition, they can be helpful by giving you a road map. That being said…
Allow for creativity as well. What saved me last year was that one of my characters did the complete opposite of what I expected, and it sent the novel in an entirely new direction…three days before the deadline. It gave me a ton of words, though.
Get a cheerleading squad. Fellow writers are very good for this, but so are people in your life who respect and appreciate the insanity you are about to embark on. My friends all know what Thursday means, and my best friend is gunning for me to be done before Thanksgiving so that it doesn’t screw with my visit to see her. You know, priorities…
Set aside or schedule time every day to write. This has been another life saver for me. My usual time is from 7ish to 9ish, sometimes longer if I’m on a roll or way behind. Turn off the TV, phone, and Internet during this time.
Finally, remember that this is not life and death. In the end, you are competing against yourself. You are trying to do better than you have before. You are trying to write a book. Okay, so 50,000 words is more like a novella, but it is a grand challenge to attempt, and if you win you get bragging rights for a year.
To the new Wrimos, good luck and may your plot bunnies be fruitful.
To the experienced Wrimos, good luck and may your plot bunnies not choke you.
Here we go again…