Showing posts with label preparing for NaNoWriMo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label preparing for NaNoWriMo. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 24

NaNoWriMo: How To Reach Your Daily Wordcount

NaNoWriMo: How To Reach Your Daily Wordcount
Copyright Mikleman, Some rights reserved. Licensed under the Creative Commons.

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.

Her solution?

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

Friday, October 5

NaNoWriMo: 5 Tips On How To Get Ready

NaNoWriMo: 5 Tips On How To Get Ready

It's NaNoWriMo time! Well, almost. What's NaNoWriMo? It's an annual writing event in which participants to write 50,000 words of a new novel in the month of November.

Here are the rules:
[T]o be an official NaNoWriMo winner, you must…

1. Write a 50,000-word (or longer!) novel, between November 1 and November 30.
2. Start from scratch. None of your own previously written prose can be included in your NaNoWriMo draft (though outlines, character sketches, and research are all fine, as are citations from other people’s works).
3. Write a novel. We define a novel as a lengthy work of fiction. If you consider the book you’re writing a novel, we consider it a novel too!
4. Be the sole author of your novel. Apart from those citations mentioned two bullet-points up.
5. Write more than one word repeated 50,000 times.
6. Upload your novel for word-count validation to our site between November 25 and November 30.
50,000 words sounds like a lot. Here's how the word count breaks down:

Write every day: 1,667 words a day.
Write 6 days a week: 1,923 words a day.
Write 5 days a week: 2,273 words a day.

Most of the folks I've talked to say they shoot for 2,000 words a day so they can have a day off if they feel like it.

NaNoWriMo Links
If you want to participate in NaNoWriMo, head on over to National Novel Writing Month and sign up. It's free!

What you want to do first is read about how NaNoWriMo works. If you'd like to meet up with other folks doing NaNo click here to see if there's a group doing NaNo near you. Also, don't forget to check out the discussion forms because half the fun of NaNo is that you're going through this with other people.

Preparing For NaNoWriMo
As Kristen Lamb says, "There is no sense in knocking out 50,000 words, if, at the end, we have an un-fixable mess" (Structure Part 4–Testing Your Idea–Is it Strong Enough to Make an Interesting Novel?). Not, that is, if you're a writer and your goal isn't simply to write 50,000 words in a month. That's all it is for some folks, and that's fine. But if you're a writer your goal is to create a (publishable) story.

Here are my suggestions on how to prepare for NaNoWriMo:

1) Start writing 2,000 words a day now
I imagine your first thought after reading that was: "Is she crazy?" Well, I might be, but not because of that!

Notice I didn't say: start writing 2,000 words of a novel. Yesterday I wrote about 1,600 words for my blog and probably at least another 400 words of fiction, so I wrote 2000 words. I'm not trying to pat myself on the back, but it's one thing to just write 2,000 words and quite another to write 2,000 of the first draft of a novel. The latter is much harder.

So, if you're not already writing 2,000 words a day, start doing it now. Take the time between now and the beginning of November to gradually ramp up your word count. That way when you start on your novel on November 1st it won't be such a shock to your system.

What should you write? Anything! Short stories, blog posts, whatever strikes your fancy. If you don't have a blog, and you don't feel like beginning one, you can always write guest posts.

Just in case you think my suggestion to write 2,000 words a day is outrageous, think about this. In a recent blog post I wrote about Kris Rusch's announcement that she had written a million words last year. A million!

That means, on average, Kris wrote 3,000 words a day with no days off. Okay, if you want to be picky, she wrote 2,858 per day, but that is way over what is required for NaNo. Since Kris writes about 86,000 words per month each month for her is NaNo!

2) Work on the structure of your novel
The rules state that:
None of your own previously written prose can be included in your NaNoWriMo draft (though outlines, character sketches, and research are all fine, as are citations from other people’s works).
So it's perfectly appropriate to work on an outline of your novel before Nov 1st and I'd suggest that, if you're anything like me, it's a darn good idea.

3) Prepare your meals beforehand
Prepare as many meals as you can in advance and freeze them. Also, go shopping and fill your pantry with nutritious canned food (soup, etc); anything that's good for you and easy to heat up. Repeat after me: Pringles chips are (deliciously) evil.

4) Find a writing place
If you haven't already done so, find a place, or places, you can write. You'll want it to be quiet and comfortable.

5) Tell your friends and family you're participating in NaNoWriMo
You may have to step back from a couple of events in November and it helps if your friends and family know why. Also, if you tell everyone you'll have the first draft of a novel completed by the end of November that will help keep you on track. No one likes to admit they've failed, especially to their family. (Because, of course, you'd still be hearing about it 10 years from now!)

I'd love to hear from anyone who is doing NaNoWriMo or has done it in the past. How are you preparing? If you've gone through NaNoWriMo in the past, what did you think of it? Was it a good experience, one you would recommend to others?

Other articles you might like:
- Amazon's KDP Select: The Best Long-Term Strategy?
- Libraries Look To Indie Authors As The Future
- 12 Writing Tips: How To Be A Writer

Photo credit: Anthony Anaxagorou