C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m

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10 Tips for NaNoWriMo

240/365 National Novel Writing Month begins
Image by owlbookdreams via Flickr

NaNoWriMo begins November 1. A few suggestions:

1. If you can do more than 1700+ words per day, try to do so. It takes the panic out of the equation when you miss a day. And you will miss a day. You aren’t a machine. You may miss several. Do more when you are able so there’s a cushion.

2. Stay calm. You’re not actually writing with a gun to your head. Remember this is supposed to be fun.

3. It’s probably best to have an outline. Yes, you can explore instead, but when you’re against the clock, it’s good to plan out what the major scenes are going to be ahead of time. If you find yourself pulled in another direction, there’s still no gun to your head. You can veer off as necessary and discover an entirely different ending than you had pictured. It happens all the time.

4. Remember, this is just a first draft. Don’t worry about heavy research. That’s for later. You can always fill in gaps and correct niggling details in your next draft.

5. Remember, this is just a first draft. Every year agents and editors get some submissions which are obviously the raw feed. Novels are not ready for submission just because a writer takes the time to hit spell check once.

6. Write with a buddy. Write against a buddy. Make a bet. Get some stakes in this game.

7. Know why you’re writing. Maybe this is the one way you will get a first draft done…or a good start on a first draft.

8. Try to get to the end of you story. Even if you have to stick in pages that summarize scenes, this tip will help you complete your draft later. (e.g. X happens here, write that. Y happens here, write this.) That strategy will help you harness the momentum NaNoWriMo gives and protect you from frustration and disappointment. 

9. Know why you’re doing NaNoWriMo. Some writers have acted like poo heads (not Winnie the) about National Novel Writing Month. They dislike it because they figure it’s for people who aren’t very serious about their writing. Well, d’uh! They’re right! A lot of participants aren’t very serious about it. Some people participate just so they can scratch “Write a novel” off their bucket list. If you’ve read No Plot? No Problem! you know that the spirit of this thing is fun.

10. For others, it’s deadly serious and provides the motivation they feel they need to get started. What’s wrong with that? They know it’s their first draft. Maybe they haven’t written anything and been paid for it. Yet. So what? Every professional writer started out from that same place. The hotheads must be awfully threatened and snobby. Or worse, they receive awful first draft manuscripts from naïve people who don’t know the word revision.


Filed under: NanNoWriMo, , , , , ,

2 Responses

  1. Diane_Amy says:

    Great tips! I’ll be using them. Thanks!

  2. Chazz says:

    Glad to serve, Diane_Amy. Thanks for reading!

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