Some time ago I have started a debate on whether we all should take part in NaNoWriMo. If you are decided to go for it, then this post is for you!
Step 1: Find your time and your place.
From November 1st to November 30th, you will be writing 1667 words daily. When are you going to write them? Is there a place in which you can isolate yourself from all the outside noise and write? Think about it even before starting. Choosing one place – like a café that gets deserted at twilight – is conducive to creating a routine, and routine will motivate you when the initial excitement fades away.
Step 2: Prepare for the worst.
You will have to write around 20 pages A4 per week, which is a lot. You will constantly check your word count to see if you are getting to the daily target. And you will be frustrated, why it’s so low, why did you write only 300 words and not 500 as you thought. You won’t know what to write, the energies will leave you quicker than you thought and you might realize it’s not as easy as you thought. Why am I being it so negative? Because I want you to know, that it’s common to struggle during NaNoWriMo. It’s not a 1 km race. It’s a marathon. Try to do your best, but remember about your limits.
Step 3: Realize you are competing against yourself.
Exactly. Don’t look at the word counts of others. I know it will be tempting, but it has nothing to do with your journey. You are competing against yourself, your own insecurities and weaknesses. I challenge you to do better than you usually do. If you write 300 words daily, write 400 on each NaNoWriMo day!
Step 4: Understand what is the real prize
Each word, each fragment, each chapter is your success. You are winning just by participating. What you write in NaNoWriMo is the real prize. And not some badge that you can display on your profile. I promise you that after NaNoWriMo you probably won’t even visit there; until the next NaNoWriMo.
Step 5: Prepare materials for your novel.
A few months ago I have written an article entitled “10 tips to maximize chances for finishing your novel”. In this article, I explain what to prepare to facilitate the writing process. If you follow the advice in this article, your novel is basically built before you start writing – and all you have to do is write, basing on what you’ve prepared. Please do not skip this article, as it contains the most useful advice that I can give you for your personal project to succeed. Read the article here, it’s free and waiting for your attention.
Step 6: Prepare motivation for your novel.
I have already written about it in the last section of the article above, too, but here are some extra tips that might make you more enthusiastic:
- Write a list of 100 reasons why you want to write this book and stick it in a visible place in your room.
- Prepare a prompts jar: write or research a list of prompts, then print it and put it into a jar. Each time you run out of inspiration, put your hand in the prompt jar. It might be a novel-saver!
- Tell everyone about your novel. Chances are, they will give you some tips or you may get new, amazing ideas while talking.
- Do NaNoWriMo with a friend – it’s always easier in a group than alone, because your buddy might motivate you and read your writing – which will in turn inspire you to keep on writing.
- Schedule weekend trips to places that are somehow connected to your novel. For example, if your novel is taking place in a spooky castle, maybe it’s a good idea to go see the nearby ruins and take photos that you might later describe.
Step 7: Stop worrying about NaNoWriMo… Enjoy it!
If you take a look at NaNoWriMo forums, you will see that a lot of people are more worried about it than actually enjoying it. And NaNoWriMo is an awesome way to validate your writing journey, especially if you haven’t published yet.
One final tip:
Try not to delete anything when writing and try not to edit while you write. By deleting, you are only undermining your word count, and editing will make you lose precious time that should be spent on writing. NaNoWriMo is all about writing, and not deleting, improving or editing. You can do those things in December, when you have a ready novel.
I hope that all of you can reach the planned word counts and are awarded with a beautiful and intriguing novel at the end of November! Good luck everyone and stay inspired!