Welcome to Blogmas day six!
Today I want to share some of the things with you that I've so far learned in the three years that I've been participating in NaNoWriMo (and Camp NaNo). For those of you who don't know, NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is an annual event happening throughout November where writers attempt to write 50.000 words in 30 days, the equivalent of a book toward the shorter end. It sounds hard and challenging, well, it truly is both but it is also very much doable.
As I mentioned before I've been doing NaNoWriMo for three years now and each time I've learned many new things, ways to help you make it and alike. I've read many posts from other people with their NaNo stories so I thought I might try, write down a couple of things that helped me, and maybe it'll be able to help some of you guys in the future.
This year, I admit, I had quite the hard time getting into the flow of things, which resulted in my word count being quite behind. I was more then sure I wouldn't be able to catch up all those words, but miraculously I did. Don't believe me? Here's a picture of my statistics for this years NaNo:
It took me many nights filled with way too little sleep but lots of writing to catch up, surely between 2.000 and 4.000 words a day. Here are some things that helped me:
#1 - Music
This one is kind of obvious, I know, but the right kind of music can help immensely to get into the writing mood and mindset. About to write an action type scene? Choose up beat music. A sad scene? Sad or classical music is your friend. A romantic one? Don't be afraid to pull out that rock type music perfect for cuddling. I find myself setting up different playlists for each story I write, every character or particular scene.
#2 - Outline
Before this years NaNo I've rarely outlines, or if I did I only went about two chapters ahead. This time I decided to actually sit down and plan ahead, write down a couple of lines for each chapter. Now, each time I was about to start writing again I didn't have to think about what to write first but could just look into my outline and unleash all the words. It helped me a lot to know exactly where my story is heading, what details I can include when and where exactly all my characters are. If you've never tried outlining before, give it a shot, it might help you like it helped me.
#3 - Like the story you are writing
This one seems like a no-brainer I know, but it's true. If you like the story you are writing, like your characters and the things happening in it you'll be a lot more motivated to sit down and write. That long break you can see in the picture above, that was because I was trying to write something I wasn't quite feeling. I wasn't happy with it, didn't feel like writing at all, but then on day 9 (I think) I switched to a different story, a fully outlined one, and suddenly the words kept on coming. Fair enough, there was another break but was because my hand was hurting and I couldn't write. No fun.
#4 - Switch it up
What I mean by that is switch up your writing routine. If you usually write in the morning but the words are not coming, try writing in the evening. If you usually write at your desk, try to find yourself another place. Maybe another, another point of view, can help you find new inspiration. I usually write at my desk but this time I tried to write in the night before going to sleep. It worked amazingly. If neither of those things help, how about going for a walk before writing, watch a movie or read a book with a similar theme as your story, inspiration is waiting everywhere.
#5 - Writing sprints
This one is golden. Every year I heard everybody talking about them but I never participated, never thought it would be something I would enjoy since the idea of writing against time seemed way too stressful. This year in my desperate attempt of catching up I tried it, mostly using the sprints hosted on twitter by @NaNoWordSprints or together with fellow authors. Turns out it was immensely helpful. My daily word count shot up in the air and thanks to those sprints I actually managed to catch up and win, on the last day but I made it, my third year in a row. Don't be afraid to try new things, you can't imagine how many words you can get onto the page in 30 minutes, or even as much as 10 or 15.
Ultimately the most important thing you'll need to make it, write those 50.000 words in 30 days, is the ambition to not give up, even if you find yourself thousands of words behind. If you are determined enough to win you'll find a way to do it.
I know work, school, and life can sometimes make finding the time hard, making you think you won't be able to do it, make you not even try, but I think that's just an excuse. Even if you won't make it, won't write 50.000 words, you can at least try, every word is more then none, right? I won my first two NaNo's while I was still in school, drowning between studying and preparing presentations, figuring out how to survive exams, but I still found those two hours every evening to sit down and write down the minimum of 1.667 words a day.
Anyway, I hope any of these tips will be able to help you, on a daily basis or next year during NaNoWriMo. If you have any tips you think could help others, take a moment and leave them in the comments below or tweet them at me, @Alice_Reeds.
I hope you enjoyed this post, a slightly different one then my usual ones, and have a great day or evening!