6 Tips and Tricks for Beating NaNoWriMo
Every November, I say goodbye to my social life and dive into NaNoWriMo. It is a month of me, my brain, and a computer screen.
What is NaNoWriMo?
National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo for short) is a non-profit organization that promotes creative writing. They help run a fun event that occurs every November, where writers work to finish a 50,000 word novel by the end of the month. All you have to do is sign up on the website in order to participate.
So what are some of the ways I can meet this word count?
If you’re ready to participate, then you’ve taken the first step to being on a whole new level of awesome. NaNo offers up prep events through their various groups in different cities, but you can definitely start planning on your own before November 1st.
Before the start of November, you’ll need to work on building a believable story. There are a ton of resources on the NaNoWriMo website that I’d recommend looking at. You’ll want to make sure that you have well-developed characters and a plausible storyline to work with.
I mean, maybe quantity is more important than quality this month, but it helps with revisions if you have something you can actually work with in the first place.
The hardest part of the month is trying to keep up with word goals, especially if you have full-time and part-time jobs, want to maintain some semblance of a social life, and/or a family. I mean, it can be hard to write 1,667 words a day when you have other things going on (am I wrong?).
So instead of trying to figure out how you’ll manage to get to 50,000 words without going completely crazy, here are a few tips to keep on top of your word count:
- Join a Word War. Word Wars are my absolute favorite way of getting in a bunch of words. If you are a part of a group of writers or have a writer friend, see if they’ll want to participate in one of these. All you need to do is set a time limit (say, 30 minutes) and see who can write the most in that timeframe. If you’re competitive, you won’t want to lose. I also tend to do these by myself and just try to beat my word count from the last round.
- Take a part in Double Up Day. The first Saturday of the month is Double Up Day (that’s today, btw!). While you’ll definitely put aside most of the day to focus on your writing, I think that you will appreciate being ahead on your word count on days that you just don’t feel in the writing spirit.
- Write more than 1,667 words when possible. I’d recommend writing a couple of hundred (or thousand?) words more than necessary when you have the time and inspiration. Not only does this put you ahead, but it gives you a bit of leeway on days that you just can’t meet your daily goals.
- Turn off your inner editor. Quantity, not quality. You have a word count that you need to reach – and you won’t get ahead if you keep on editing the parts that don’t quite meet your standards.
- Stop writing when you know what is going to happen next. I saw this advice online recently and it has been a great source of help to me. If you stop when you know what is happening next, then the next time you start writing you will be able to jump straight into the flow of things.
- Use every spare minute that you can for writing. Work break lunches. An hour in the morning before you start getting ready for work. An hour or two in the evening before bed. Know that you will need to tell some people no to hanging out in order to make your goals – and that is okay.
I’m going to go focus on writing and attacking Double Up Day head on. I’m rewriting the NaNo that I’ve been working on for the past two years, so I’m thoroughly enjoying getting to see these characters come alive once again (but in a slightly different storyline).
Good luck to you on your writing journey. If you have any tips for all of us NaNoWriMo writers, please share and comment below!