Hello, dear readers, and welcome!
I know I typically post a few NaNo Prep posts, but this year I've been super busy leading up to November. Still, I wanted to do something for my fellow Wrimos, and considering Wrimos, so I wrote this. (Originally posted on my Tumblr, which you can follow for more writing tips and bits.)
Enjoy, and happy almost NaNo!
Hello, lovely readers! Are you ready for NaNo?
That may be a silly question. I can’t be the only one who looks forward to NaNoWriMo, though I write full-time. There’s something magical and manic about the month of November for us Wrimos. So, whether you’re new or seasoned in the NaNoVerse, be excited!
I typically write several NaNo Prep posts each year, but this year has been crazy. Still, I wanted to write something to encourage my fellow Wrimos, so here goes! I’ll be posting one more Prep post after this, concerning NaNo as a stepping stone to publishing, so please look for it!
Writing Dreams ~
I’ve always wanted to be a writer (a novelist specifically, though writing has an odd way of taking you to places you didn’t expect to go, and now I do screenwriting and other things ((partially thanks to NaNo, actually, but that’s another story))). I started writing what seems like a million years ago, but back in 2009 I was introduced to NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month.
In case you’re new (and welcome again!), NaNo is a writing challenge, or event, held in November every year. The goal? 50K – considered a novel – in one month. It’s a lot of writing, but totally doable!
Whether you like writing fanfic, original fic, nonfiction, or a bit of everything in between, NaNo is a great experience. It helped me to pursue my writing dreams, and helped me to see what life as a writer is like (warning: despite those posts about writers putting down two words a day and living on caffeine and cake, being a writer is hard work…but also awesome).
NaNo is great in that it helps put you on a writing schedule (1,667 words per day), and pushes you through your first draft. If you haven’t given it a try, then do so!
Important Things To Remember ~
There are so many things to think of during NaNo – mainly your story, and ignoring your inner editor– but here are some of my top tips to get through the month with a grin and fun.
1: Remember It’s Only A First Draft!
In writing, there will be many drafts (4-7 is my typical, before we get to editing). That’s just part of it. It’s important to remember, during NaNo, that this draft is only the first. You know little about the story, even if you outlined, because it’s your first time wandering into this new world. Most of this draft will not make it into the final draft – and that’s okay! The first draft is exploratory, so don’t worry about getting things perfect, and have fun!
2: Remember You Have Permission To Be Crazy!
Listen, writing is fun and amazing, but it can also be amazingly stressful. There are plenty of times you love your work, but there are also days you’re going to want to burn it. This is normal! But don’t let it stress you out. The most important thing to do is to keep writing, even if you’re pretty sure it sucks (did you see the above? First drafts are going to suck somewhere, but they’re first drafts, and it’s okay!). Don’t worry, don’t go back, and don’t feel too bad if you go a little bit crazy. But remember not to bite anyone’s head off, okay? Though I doubt a loved one would be opposed to offering a shoulder to cry on if you need it.
On the flip side, remember that you can write whatever you want, even if it’s crazy! Flying pigs with laser eyes and legs like stilts? Sure, do it! (And while you’re at it, post some art for your story, because that sounds like it would be a great pic!)
Deep breath. You can do this.
Deep laugh. You can write that.
And plenty of chocolate and tea (or coffee, if you prefer). You can never go wrong with a bit of caffeine.
3: Remember You Can Catch Up!
If you miss a day, don’t fret! Life happens, even when you’re a writer. The word count per day is totally doable (those words add up faster than you’d think!), but if you miss a day, all is not lost. There is time.
4: Remember You Can Write More!
The above being said, it’s important to note that you don’t have to stop at the 1,667 per day (you’d be surprised how many people asked me if they needed to stop when I was my region’s ML). If you have extra time, write extra. It will help you on those days when time is short, or there’s a holiday (Thanksgiving writing, my fellow Americans, is hard when you’re stuffed with turkey and just want to sleep or watch a good movie).
5: Remember To Protect Your Space and Time!
You need somewhere to write, and you need some time to write. Protect both with your life. I’m not saying to ignore your family or friends, or to hiss at anyone who comes near, but be mindful that you need your space. You’ve committed to this, right? Treat it as a commitment, or appointment if you have to.
6: Remember Participation Is The Real Reward!
Do we all want to finish the 50K? Of course! It’s a great feeling to finish a first draft. But not all first drafts are finished in a month (in fact, I would say most aren’t). If you fall behind, don’t give up on yourself or your novel. If you don’t make it to 50K, you haven’t lost, because you’ve committed yourself to something, and you’ve tried. Starting a novel is a huge feat, and so is finishing. Do your best to reach the 50K, but if you don’t, don’t give up on your story! It deserves to be finished, and you deserve to feel good about yourself for trying something new, and pursuing your passion!
7: Remember Draft 2 Comes Next!
Work hard! Finish your first draft! And then what? Onto draft 2! You’ve just worked on an amazing story, and it deserves to be fashioned into something even more amazing. As you go onto your subsequent drafts, you learn more and more about the story. Dare to discover!
Happy NaNoWriMo, and write on!
Previous NaNo Posts:
What I Learned From NaNoWriMo 2016
NaNo Prep: Worldbuilding List (2016 + Download)
To NaNoWriMo, With Love (2016 + Worksheet)
Why I Still Need NaNoWriMo - Writing To WIN Not Win (2015)
What I Learned From NaNo 2014 - It's Ok To Fail
NaNo Prep - Remaining Courageous (2014)
NaNo Prep - Goodbye To Inhibitions (2014)
NaNo Prep - Using The Word "NO" (2014)
NaNo Prep - Gather Your Inspiration Information (2014)
NaNo Prep - Leave Your Novel Worries Behind (2014)
What I Learned From NaNoWriMo 2013