It’s that time of year again! Yet another round of trying to write a novel, or at least a novel-sized load of “words”, for lack of a more flattering description, in one month.
My first Nanowrimo attempt took place in 2006. I failed miserably.
My second and third Nanowrimo attempts took place in 2012 and 2013. Both were victorious. I’m hoping to repeat the experience again, but to actually have publishable results. Thankfully, the last few years have generated several handy techniques for getting the word count and the contents up to standard (mostly). Here are a few things I’ve found handy:
1. Have a plan. Plain and simple. Know what you want to write about, for how many words, and in what order. Set yourself a number of words to write per day, and also set yourself some days off, to prevent brain haemorrhaging.
2. Have a word challenge for each writing day. Don’t expect plot points to show up on time for work each day. While you’re making your plan, also make an event/word cloud for each week. Write yourself some prompts. For example: unusual words to include in descriptions; characters to argue about something in a long dialogue spiel; a monologue about the harshness of poptarts; a sudden diary entry from one of the characters…
3. Stay off the Nanowrimo facebook groups. Everyone on there is there for one reason: procrastination. Don’t join them.
4. Don’t ask for feedback. You’ll end up waiting until after Nanowrimo is over for good feedback to return to you, in which case you’ll have run out of time. Crush all insecurities. Forge on ahead and blindly write. Yes, it will probably be crap, but there will be one or two things in there that you can keep. It’s more important at this stage to get the momentum up than it is to get the technique refined. Refinement can come afterwards. Learn how to self-motivate and keep a story going first.
5. Think about the next step. Do you want to publish with a commercial publisher? Do you want to self-publish? Do you want to email the story around a group of friends? Bury it in a hole and never look upon it again? Have a goal in mind, the whole time you’re working on the story. It needs a future. You’re giving life to a story (for better or worse), so you should treat it with respect. Give it the time and space that it deserves, and later, when you’ve got time to reflect, give it the kick up the backside it may need to get where you want it to go.
Next week, I’m going to start writing, and I hope you are too. Will be returning here on 3rd November to rant about it…. good luck! If you want to be friends on Nanowrimo, my profile is here: http://nanowrimo.org/participants/wildfillysama