Keep calm. NaNoWriMo is coming.
It's that time of the year when you either decide to take part in what I consider to be one of the most painful months of the year, or you're looking for an easy going month without too much prefer.
This year, I'm that guy. The one that doesn't want to write 50,000 words in 30 days, but that doesn't mean I won't try and help those that do.
Are you a pantser or a plotter?
You should know how you write the most effectively, for me, it's when I've planned everything out that I can start writing, but for others, all they need is a well fleshed character and they're ready to hit the pages running.
Snacks: this is very important, if you're writing at night time, you're going to get peckish, so keep some snacks around, they don't have to be coated in sugar (but that's how I like them) you can always chop up an apple, or eat orange segments.
Stationary: it's always nice to have some new stationary around. I usually buy myself some nice new paper and pens before I take on a writing project, and NaNo is an event, so give yourself every advantage by feeling awesome at the start of the month with some new stationary.
Read! A lot: don't forget to do some reading, before, after, and during the event. Oh, and don't forget to keep those writing books by your side as reference. I have an "Emotion Thesaurus" which is an amazing reference guide that helps when you're trying to describe how a person is feeling without saying "he was sad".
Caffeine up: keep your levels peaked, eat chocolate, drink tea, drink coffee... and if you're no fun, you can drink water, I guess... because believe me, you're going to need some caffeine if you're being 100% committed to NaNo, or it will swallow you whole (it will probably swallow you whole anyway).
Characters: You might not want to plan your book out, but you should definitely invest in your characters. Take time to think about your character, let them develop. Ask them questions: how do they react to situations? Remember that once you've planned some amazing characters, they will definitely be running the show for you. They will tell you what they want to do.
Unplug: take yourself away from the internet. Facebook and Twitter are both your enemy and friend during November as you'll be connecting with people and sharing your NaNo experience... but you'll also be wasting time where you could be getting those 1,667 words down. Give yourself an allotted time frame for the internet -- and note that a quick search on "how to clean blood from a carpet?" can lead to a quick stop by Twitter and before you know it, you've wasted thirty minutes.
Keep saving it: it's become second nature to me to press ctrl + S whenever I'm not typing, just so that I'm saving my work... and it's really helpful, it's even more helpful if your laptop is prone to crashing and/or overheating. So don't forget to save it!
How do you do NaNoWriMo?
I know of some people who can write 10,000 words in a day -- but do they struggle for the rest of the way? (I guess most likely, unless it's all planned.) You do not want to burn yourself out too soon, slow and steady really will make you a NaNoWriMo winner, and there aren't an allotted amount of winners, everyone can be a winner if they put their head to it and work for their daily word count.
Need to Think About...
Time - when do you usually write? Well, whenever that is, you should write then. I usually write in the evening or at night time, however some people write in the morning, and in the case of NaNoWriMo, writing as soon as possible would be best, that way you can meet your daily word count goal earlier.
Goals - you need to know yourself, you need to know how much you can write in a certain time frame. Some people can only write a little amount at any one time, while others have huge bursts and then can't write for a while after.
You should also WRITE WRITE WRITE, and don't stop to edit. This is crucial to all writing projects. Don't edit until you've finished.
I've created three different brackets, the first is the bare minimum that you need to be a NaNo "winner", and then the second two are for those of you who are more daring.
1,667 words a day
11,667 words a week
50,000 in 30 days
2,000 words a day
14,000 words a week
60,000 in 30 days
(AN EXTRA 10k)
2,500 words a day
17,500 words a week
75,000 in 30 days
(AN EXTRA 25k)
Make sure to treat yourself - create some positive reinforcement and treat yourself. It's always good to treat yourself, especially after a hard day of writing.
Plot & Plan - I love plotting and planning, I do it for hours, days, weeks, before I start writing because starting a new project is terrifying. However, with NaNo it can be fun to just be spontaneous and plan to do random things... you can plan to introduce new characters, or kill someone, or have an invasion of some kind. Planning characters is a way forward, if you get stuck, you can always look back at your character, see what they would do, and just let them lead the way.
Oh, and don't forget that there is a world outside... you do need fresh air, and yes, you also need to socialise -- fresh air and communication can be inspiring
Are you doing NaNoWriMo?
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