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If you're participating in the collective insanity known as NaNoWriMo (I say that affectionately as one swept up in the madness) here are some tips for reaching your daily wordcount--typically around 2,000 words--each and every day.
Tip #1) Don't Edit
A friend of mine is writing an article on how to get your inner editor to shut the heck up--although she isn't as polite! I eagerly look forward to reading her tips, but getting your inner editor to zip-it while you write your first draft is essential.
Yes. Sure. Coax her out of hibernation when you begin your second draft but, until then, she can't help you. She is about limiting, changing, critiquing your creative output, and that's importgant, but it kills the momentum of a first draft and that's what you're writing during NaNo.
What's that you ask? How do you turn off your inner editor? Good question. I'm really looking forward to reading my friend's article! But what I do is just write and pointedly ignore any construction I think is clunky or could clearly be improved upon.
I remind myself I'm writing a first draft and that I write my first drafts for myself alone--NOT the world--and that I'll clean it up on my 2nd and 3rd pass through.
I think a person needs to write enough that they get to the point where they can trust that will happen (see: How to write every day: Jerry Seinfeld and the chain method).
Tip #2) Multitask
At the Surrey International Writers' Conference Diana Gabaldon, during her keynote speech, shared that she generally got stuck two-thirds of the way down a page. It didn't matter what she was writing--an email, grant proposal, speach, she would always get stuck two-thirds of the way down.
Go on to something else. Stuck on the third page of your novel? No problem! Write something else. Answer an email. Do a blog post. When you're done go back to your novel and try again.
I'm not saying this will work for everyone--I might get caught up in replying to emails and completely forget I was supposed to be writing! But it's certainly a great way to ensure you stay productive. :)
Tip #3) Butt In Chair
Writing is difficult. Many times it's the last thing you want to do.
Jim C. Hines created a great cartoon. The caption reads: The Muse Most Of Us Really Need. The muse is standing behind a writer, holding a gun on him, saying, "Write the %&#@& story!!!". Sometimes a picture really does speak a thousand words. What is the key to writing 2,000 words a day? Put your butt in your chair and write!
Best of luck on your NaNo adventures, and remember to hydrate!
Other articles you might like:
- 12 Writing Tips: How To Be A Writer
- Jim Butcher On Writing
- Perfection Is The Death Of Creativity
Photo credit: Mikleman