I have been honest about sharing my #NaNoWriMo journey this year, and while I’ve been doing this for a while, I realize that my experiences with the challenge are helping me a lot more than I anticipated.
Since I have been NaNoWriMo’ing since November 2003, I have won some and I have lost some (if we are keeping track, I am at 8 wins and 4 losses–without this year), but more than that, I have learned how I work best.
For example, I have done the whole planning and super organizational thing. But, I’ve also just done a general idea and fly by the seat of my pants (called ‘pantsing’ in the NaNo community). Both have lead to wins and losses. Thus, my list below that is sure to help veterans and newbies alike.
7 Tips for NaNoWriMo Success
- Start Strong — If you establish a bank of extra writing in the early days when you are motivated because it is new, you’ll be able to spend time later on family matters, plotting or just binge watching that series you just found on Hulu.
- Establish a Support System — Support can come from online or in person help, I prefer a mix of both. We got to go to our region’s kickoff, but I find myself writing more on the NaNoWriMo Facebook group because it fits better into my schedule. Plus, I post my writing updates online, so that gives a little accountability.
- Read Author Pep Talks — There is nothing better than getting a personal-type email from an author whom your admire. From Diana Gabaldon to Neil Gaiman, these nuggets of information are delivered to participant’s email addresses. And, seriously, they help.
- Remember ANYTHING Can Happen — This is your novel. And there are no rules, unless you make the rules. But, keep in mind, sometimes your characters may have minds of their own and do what they want (which means a weird internal conflict of some type, but we can go into that later)–let them, so long as it means you get more words out of it.
- Back Up, Often and in Multiple Places — Self Explanatory.
- Don’t Edit until You are a Validated Winner — This is the hardest for me, particularly. I want to edit now, while the story is fresh. But, this year, since I haven’t been editing early, I have actually been closer to finishing earlier than I have in many years.
- Have Fun — No matter what happens, remember that while many people say they want to write a book, few people do. And even less of those people publish them. You are doing something amazing, and while I encourage you to try your best AND challenge yourself, if you have fun, there is no need to beat yourself up if you don’t finish. If you don’t finish, you have more words on a project than you started out with, and you’ve learned a few things about yourself and the way you work, too
I write this having written 35k by November 12th, I’ve taken a few sub 500 count days to celebrate my anniversary and enjoy time with my husband. I have a lot more that I want to accomplish, and am hopeful that my novel will be completed by November 20th.
Have you ever done NaNoWriMo? Why or Why Not? Do you have any words of wisdom to spread to any new writers? Please share in the comments below.