In less than five hours, NaNoWriMo will officially commence. The plan had been to keep organised in the build-up, to have everything set out including scene breakdowns, character motivation write-ups etc. Has any of that happened? Well, not entirely. Most things are half written, because as usual life has gotten in the way. Am I worried about being unprepared? To be honest, not this time. I’ve planned about fifteen scenes so far, with – very – brief summaries, and there is plenty of room for expansion into additional scenes etc, so I certainly have a big board to jump off. A much bigger one than last year.
And that is the reason why I really am not worried, because even if I’m not as prepared as I feel I should be, I’m prepared enough to get go in confidence that I know where I am going.
Every so often, I do find myself thinking “hmm, maybe I should do that story instead”, but no, I am sticking to my guns and I know that I have chosen the right story to work on.
For anyone who is giving NaNoWriMo a try for the first time this year, I wanted to offer a few tips that might put your mind at ease. These are, of course, all based on my own personal experiences and everyone will have a very different experience of NaNoWriMo, that does without question.
One. Do what you can
Writing 1,667 words in one sitting is daunting as hell. Trust me, I know. A lot of people can do it easily, but then a lot of us really can’t. If you’re like me, don’t force yourself. If you can only manage 150 words, that’s great and it’s better than nothing. Just dip in and out of your work at various intervals during the day.
Two. Back Up
Don’t forget to back everything up. There is nothing worse than a power failure, your PC to die and you to find your story lost into oblivion. I like to store my work on Google Docs, because I don’t always use the same PC, so it makes things easier. I’d also “like” to believe that Google won’t lose it. But, if you’re a bit sceptical, I often email my work to myself to, so that’s another back up.
Three. Don’t give in
November is going to be a stressful month, especially once you reach the halfway point. Don’t give in, instead you should feed on the “fear” to drive you forward. If you find yourself in a rut, just write ANYTHING. Literally, anything. Well, maybe not literally, otherwise you’d just keep writing the one word….seriously though, just write a character biography. Write what something in the scene looks like. Put yourself in your characters shoes and describe what they can smell, see, hear, feel etc.
Four. Get Competitive
NaNoWriMo is not a competition. You won’t win any prizes and at the end everyone is ultimately a winner whether they complete it or not. But who is to say that you can’t treat it like one? Last year, I fond that seeing my friends’ word counts really spurred me on. If they were higher than me, I always felt pushed to catch up. On the other hand, if they were lower than me, I felt pushed to keep going so that they couldn’t catch up with me. It really does work, and is all harmless fun of course 😉
Five. Have fun
Yes, NaNoWriMo is stressful but at the end of the long slog of a day, writing is meant to be fun. Okay, so we all dream about publishing our novels. But, is there any point if we haven’t enjoyed writing it?
Good luck to everyone taking part in thirty days and thirty nights of writing abandon.
Let me know how you get on 😉