Have you done it? Okay, here's the deal: NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) starts next Monday, November 1st. You only have a few more days to decide if you're going to do it. And you're going to do it, right? Good. Well, since you're going to do NaNoWriMo, I'm going to give you some helpful tips I've learned from NaNoWriMo and from writing in general to help you out.
Tip #1: Get a plan, Stan.
Even if your name isn't Stan, getting a plan is a good idea. There are several things you want to plan for during NaNoWriMo; thinking about these things now will help you avoid some (as in a teeny-tiny bit) of hair-pulling later on.
- Get a novel journal. I use a journal/notebook for each of my novels to keep all of my ideas in. This works much better than sticky notes for me or any other method. Mostly because I have a two-year old who likes to eat sticky notes.
- If you are the kind of person who plots out your novels, do that now! If you're not that kind of person (like me!), just sit back and enjoy the ride.
- Plan to write crap. Seriously. If you're planning on writing the Great American Novel in one draft, NaNoWriMo may not be for you. But if you're willing to write some garbage, you'll discover diamonds among the word refuse.
- Plan your word count. Are you going to be able to write every single day in November? If so, you should be writing 1,667 words a day. However, if you are planning to take a day or two off for Thanksgiving, or if you'd like to spend more time with your family on the weekends, you will need to take that into account. Figure out now how many days you will be able to write and then divide 50,000 by that number. Easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy (as my child's kindergarten teacher would say).
- Plan for the unexpected. Your child gets ill. Your significant other takes you away to a secluded cabin for the weekend. Your brother wants you to move all of his furniture. These are things that may hinder your 50,000 words. Plan for these things now. Give yourself some leeway so that you are not scrambling to get your 50,000 words at 1o o'clock at night on November 30. That is stressful. I know. I did it last year.
So, that's how I suggest you start out. Get lots of sleep this weekend, because you won't get much in November. I'll be back next week with another tip. After I finish my 1,667 words for the day first, of course.