One of my NaNo buddies posed a question a few days ago about advice for a first time participant. I thought I’d share some of the advice I gave to them in my blog.
- Concentrate on the writing, not on the counting. Yes, ‘winning’ is fun, but your focus should be on learning how to manage time and write something every day, even if it’s just 500 words.
- Ignore the bad days. They happen, they end. Move forward and catch up later.
- Put down the eraser. Now is not the time to edit. Be satisfied to be crap for right now. Editing can come in December. Now is for exploding your ideas and story onto the page. It’s like good barbecue: cleaning up in the middle makes no sense. Just gobble down the words, lick the tasty story sauce off your paws then grab a moist towelette on December 1st.
- Again, ignore the word count. It’s counter-intuitive. If you write daily, you’ll get words enough, but your focus should be on a good story that you can perhaps make into a novel. Focusing on winning the race and getting 50,000 words will only make your work harder. Crafting a good narrative should be the key. 50k is at best an arbitrary value to signify its done.
- Participate in write-ins, be they in person or online. Being amongst your kind, knowing you’re not the only one doing this has tangible benefits. Plus: moral support.
- Write something meaningful, even if only for yourself. Writing something you are passionate about makes this a ton easier and twenty tons more enjoyable.
- Remember most of all -and despite all of the text you’ll read saying otherwise- you are not really writing a novel this month; you are writing a first draft. Go forward with that in miond and just get everything you can on the page. It’s less stressful and far more rewarding.
Anyways, those are some thoughts I had about the process. Hopefully they’ll be helpful to someone reading this. Good luck on your NaNo’ing!