5 Top Tips for Winning NaNoWriMo
1. Have a rough outline: Not necessarily an in-depth step by step for every chapter, but at least some sort of road map to help you keep your focus. Try writing down ten-fifteen major events you want to happen in the story, and perhaps a couple of key character profiles. Of course, you may find your story curves down a different path – if it feels right, go with it!
2. Prepare your friends and family: Advanced warning that you’re going to be spending the month of November being horribly antisocial will soften the blow as you turn down that invitation to drinks or that cinema trip. People who don’t write don’t always understand why you’d want to do something like NaNo, but try and make them realise how passionate you are about it. And come December, make sure you celebrate (or commiserate) with them.
3. Prepare your work space: A clutter free work space usually helps maintain a clear mind. Quite apart from that, if it’s a mission to get to your computer, it’s one more excuse not to sit down and do your words. Make your writing place tidy and orderly. It probably won’t be that way by the end of the month as note cards pile up alongside sweet wrappers and other snacks, but it’s good to start off with a clean slate.
4. Get your profile set up and connect with your fellow NaNo-ers: Having a few cheerleaders at your side will help keep you motivated. It’s great to watch their charts grow across the month, and you’ll want to keep up with them. Plus, quick word count competitions between your ‘writing buddies’ are a great way to boost your words over a short period of time.
5. Bank words when you get the chance: 1667 done for the day and the inspiration still flowing? Keep going. Keep putting words down until the tips of your fingers bleed and you realise it’s some small hour of the morning. There will be days when you don’t get it together enough to write anything. There will be days when time is in even shorter supply and you don’t quite reach your quota. The more words you can bank when you have the chance, the more slack you can allow yourself when the burnout starts to set in.
And a bonus!
6. Know that however many words you achieve, you’re a winner: Even if you don’t hit the all important 50k, you still stopped talking about writing a novel and had a good go at actually doing it. Maybe you’ll decide the novel writing life isn’t for you, maybe you’ll be a few thousand words further forwards than you were before. Whatever the case, you went for something and you made some progress. And that’s always a good thing.