As November approaches, past NaNoWriMo participants start getting the itch to write a novel in one month again. If you are a past winner, you know that the feeling of completing your manuscript in one month is exhilarating. Whether you are a newbie to NaNoWriMo or a former participant who wants to be sure to win this year, here are some tips from a NaNoWriMo winner that will help you make it through the month.
Tip 1 – Planning
Writers can sign up for NaNoWriMo throughout the month of October. Once you have signed up, you can start planning your novel. You cannot start writing your novel, but creating your characters and outlining plot lines will go a long way towards quicker writing during the month of November.
Tip 2 – Jumpstart the First Day
You have to write 1,667 words per day in order to complete 50,000 words in 30 days. Realistically, most people are not going to be able to write every single day. Things come up, your life gets busy and even if it doesn’t, you may not feel like writing every day. Therefore, it is crucial that you get a jumpstart on the first day of NaNoWriMo. Aim for 5,000 words on November 1st. If you have to, call in sick to work, clear your calendar and arrange for childcare.
Tip 3 – Don’t Compare Yourself to Other NaNoWriMo Writers
Once you have started NaNoWriMo, you enter your total number of words written each day into the NaNo website. You will have a graph that tracks your progress. You can also view other writers’ graphs. It is easy to look at the progress of other writers and get discouraged. Some people write very fast during NaNoWriMo. Some even finish their 50,000 words in the first week. None of this matters. What matters is that you are making slow and steady progress towards your goal.
Tip 4 – More Planning
Probably more helpful than planning your novel ahead of time is daily planning. Each day when you finish writing your 1,667 words, take a minute to outline what you will be writing the next day. Ask yourself some questions about what you want to accomplish with the next day’s writing. What characters are going to be involved in the next section? What will be the problem that the characters need to overcome? What will be the resolution?
Tip 5 – No Deleting!
This tip is crucial. 50,000 words is a lot. Every word is precious. Do not delete anything. If you find that you wrote something idiotic and you need to get it out of there, highlight the text so that you can easily find it after NaNoWriMo is over. Save the deleting for December.
Tip 6 – Don’t Read Your Novel
Sometimes, it is helpful to read what you have written. But, there is never a need during NaNoWriMo to read more than the previous day’s writing. Reading your work will waste time, will make you want to edit and, worse yet, make you want to delete text. Occasionally, you will sit down at the computer and have trouble getting into the flow of your story. Then it may be necessary to read the previous day’s work. But, don’t let yourself get carried away with reading.
Tip 7 – Write!
The only way to win NaNoWriMo is to write and write often. It doesn’t matter what is coming out on the computer screen. The exciting thing about NaNo is that sometimes, you will find yourself in a groove and the words will flow. The story will go in directions you never expected and the characters will develop in ways you could have never planned.
Winning NaNoWriMo is a thrilling experience. It is a personal accomplishment that is on par with running a marathon. Visit NaNoWriMo on the web, sign up in October and get ready to work hard and be a NaNoWriMo winner!