Wednesday, October 14, 2020

O'Abby's #NaNoWriMo #NaNoTips

So it's O'Abby's turn to offer up some tips to help you through NaNoWriMo...

I think I've done NaNo at least 10 times, once I include the Camp NaNos I have participated in as well as the regular, November extravaganza.  I haven't always 'won', but to be honest, that shouldn't really be the point.  Writing isn't a competitive sport and in my humble opinion, any words you get onto the page are a win.

So my first tip is not to get too hung up on hitting 50,000 words.  Life happens and sometimes it isn't helpful to writing anything.  Go in with the mindset that regardless of whether you hit the 50,000 word mark, you're making progress on a story you want to tell.

My second tip is a more practical one.

Try and get ahead on your word count at the beginning.  You're likely to be more inspired, less tired and more excited to write early in the month, so use that to get as many words written as possible.  I always try to get to 10K in the first three days or so because then I have a bit of a bumper if something goes pear shaped somewhere later in the month and I miss a few days' writing.

We're lucky this year in that 1 November is a Sunday.  See if you can block out a few hours that day to get started.  Maybe a couple of hours in the morning and a couple more in the afternoon if possible.  Turn off your phone and your internet and just write for those hours.  You'll be surprised how much you can get through.

My third and final tip is another practical one.

Don't stop to research.  If you hit a point in your story where you need information you don't have in your head, don't stop to look it up.  Leave yourself a note in the MS in a different colored font maybe, or highlight it, and move on.  While you're writing and writing fast, stopping to look up the Korean word for grandmother or how long an average runner takes to run 400m takes you out of the story and ruins your flow. It's not crucial to the writing process that you have this information right there and then.  Make a note and move on.

Most of all, have fun with it.  Nothing you write during NaNo is going to be perfect and it's not supposed to be.  Think about your NaNo draft as being your zero draft, or vomit draft.  You're throwing words at the page, trying to get your story and your characters onto the page.  There will be time later to pretty it up.  That's what December and January are for.

Good luck and enjoy yourself.

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