It’s NaNo time again!
As many of you know, I’m a huge fan of National Novel Writing Month. It’s how I wrote TNWSY. It’s how so many other amazing authors completed their novels. (The Night Circus, for example. Yes. That one.)
So for any writers interested in jumping aboard, here are my pieces of advice:
1) Don’t think, just do it. A lot of people don’t attempt because they don’t think they’ll be able to finish. So? Sure, 50,000 words IS the end goal, but if you don’t finish, it’s not the end of the world. At least you started. At least you tried. And that might just be the push you need.
2) To Plot or not to plot. I’ve seen a lot of Twitter posts from people prepping for NaNo. They’ve gotten their entire books plotted out, and they’re ready to go. And still, I see others who have no idea where their books will take them, and just want to try. I say do whatever you want. Don’t be intimidated by those with 20 pages of pre-notes. (I had none – I had a basic idea, and after a few days of writing, I made a rough outline of where I wanted things to go. I mean rough. Like, half-a-page rough.) And don’t think that if you have nothing, you won’t succeed. If plotting makes you feel prepared, awesome, go for it. If not, then just start.
3) Write every day. It’s such an easy thing to think about doing, but in actuality it’s hard. Sometimes you don’t have the motivation. Sometimes you’re busy. But if you can write for just 10 minutes, it’s something. Even if you accomplish only 10 words, even if you get one sentence down, you’re one sentence closer to the end.
4) Don’t look back. The best part of NaNo is that it doesn’t let you self-edit. You don’t have the time. So if your character name changes halfway through, awesome, don’t go back and change it. If you decide to change the setting towards the end, that’s great, don’t switch out the other references. All of that can be changed during editing. Just keep writing. Don’t let yourself look at previous pages. (Unless you have to find a name or something.)
5) Make writing fun. This shouldn’t be a chore (though around 30,000 words I think every writer finds it frustrating). It should be fun! Write where you’re comfortable. Go to a coffee shop or bookstore. Or find a comfortable place at home. I wrote my entire first draft of TNWSY on Google Docs (now Drive) because I wanted to work on it all times, and didn’t always have my laptop. Since it was cloud based, it was always with me. And that was awesome.
6) Keep notes. Have a notebook. Jot down notes as you go. Write ideas for a future scene you dream up. You may not end up using them, but they’re neat to look back to once you’re done.
7) Celebrate. No, really. You survived! Go forth and celebrate! That’s such an amazing accomplishment. Seriously, be proud of yourself, even if you don’t finish.
I’d join you all this year, but I’m heavy in revisions. I wish you all luck. Let me know how you do!