My Facebook and IWW buddies are already asking their friends who will be participating in this years NANOWRIMO and for tips on how to succeed in achieving the 50,000 word goal.
When I first heard about NANOWRIMO in 2006, it was about a week before it started. I debated for a day or so to join the fun and the day before it actually started, I registered on the site and the rest is history.
If you’re planning to start a new novel or want to take the plunge in writing your first ever, the rule is to come prepared with an idea. Not just a spark, like, “Oh I want to write about a student that has an affair with a professor.” You should have a notion of the story and it should have a beginning, middle, and end.
Now I’m not one to outline my stories, but with NANO it’s a good idea to outline your characters traits, motivations, and goals,as well as the major plotline, subplot, and conduct any research that the story might need. I recommend that you do this about a week before you start. Why not earlier? The temptation is start writing before the challenge begins and according to the NANO’s rules, you’re not supposed to submit previous work.
The week that you start outlining, try to figure out a writing schedule that works for you and set your daily word goal. My plan is to write from 6:00 am to 9:00 am, and I want to write at least 2,000 words a day. Some people recommend that you write in chunks, but I think pantsing those 2,000 words is the best approach. Will I take a break during that three hour period? Yes, coffee and bathroom breaks are permissible.
Keep the dictionary and thesaurus near your computer. Try to resist the temptation of looking online for definitions. The best thing to do is turn off your wi-fi connection or unplug from the Internet. And on that note, avoid any sort of distractions. That means no TV, radio programs, texting, email, Twitter and FaceBook on your cell phones. If you need music to write try to find something that offers you some inspiration. I personally like it dead quiet, and because everyone else in this house sleeps in late, the mornings are the best time for me to write because I don’t get interrupted.
DO NOT EDIT. The whole idea of NANO is to pants your way through a first draft. If your the type of person who can’t move beyond the first chapter because every word has to be perfect, the imagery has to be crystal clear and your characters’ dialogue has to be succinct and intelligent then NANO isn’t for you.
Build a buddy system of NANO supporters, blog about your progress and even post what you’ve written, but remember this first draft is what Anne Lamott calls a “shitty first draft.” If you share what you’ve written don’t expect people to exclaim at your creative genius. State up front that you’re not seeking any feedback at all.The purpose to share or post is to keep you motivated to write until you’ve reached those 50,000 words.
That’s all I can come up with. Feel free to chime in and offer your tips for NANOWRIMO success!