Thursday, October 31, 2013

NaNoWriMo Prep: 5 Keys to success while writing a novel in a month!

From Pinterest
Ah yes...it is almost that time again, isn't it?

The time when thousands of people will go without sleep, exist solely on coffee (and possibly chocolate), and type/pen/carve out 50,000 words formed into a story that, before November 1st, had no existence.

I live for National Novel Writing Month!

I am looking forward to NaNoWriMo (for short) starting November 1st, and have mixed emotions of anticipation and dread. I mean, talk about pressure. Here you are, deciding to put a huge sizable goal in place for all to see. But, seeing as how this is my 5th year, I can say with confidence that it's worth it!

I know there are all sorts of great blogs out there giving writerly advice for NaNoWriMo success, but I thought I'd like to add my humble voice from my own past experience.

NaNoWriMo - 5 Keys to success while writing a novel in a month!

1. Get a Buddy
This is my first year of having a dedicated NaNo buddy and I am so EXCITED! My dear friend Corrine and I have been planning and plotting for a few weeks now - all mental, mind you (oh, hehe, no pun intended!). The anticipation itself will probably be enough to hold is into Week 2. For my first piece of advice, I say find someone who loves to write, and rope them into attempting NaNoWriMo with you. Hey, the worst that could happen is you start a great novel and don't finish it in a month ;)

2. Tell the World 
That's right. Telling everyone and anyone creates an interesting thing. Accountability. Suddenly, every one of your friends who knows you're writing a novel acts as a personal motivator for you! There are good sides and bad sides to this (constant questions about your noveling progress when you're in a bit of a dry spot can be...less than helpful) but I think the good outweighs the bad. Use their excitement to propel you forward and keep you on track.

From Pinterest
3. When all else fails - fake it!
Yes. You read that right. I'm encouraging you to make things up! Oh wait - it's all made up ;) One of the hardest things about writing a novel is all of those pesky details. I often find myself wondering, "Hum, what type of gun would my killer use?" Or, "If she was thrown off a cliff here, would someone see her?" (Don't worry - these are all fictional situations people... I write romantic suspense!).

When you don't know something, skip it! I tend to write things in all caps like: "He took the GUN from her, its cold weight familiar in his hands." So that I know to come back to it. You can also highlight etc. If it's more of a lengthy section, I suggest keeping track of needed research areas in a separate document. Don't do the research during November - it will only slow you down. Just power through and fake it til you make it, as they say.

4. It's a stepping stone
I know you're out there. Those of you who are afraid. So afraid that the minute you put ink to paper (fingers to keyboard) you're idea will lose its creative luster. Do NOT allow those thoughts to stop you from writing. Sure, you're idea may be amazing and sure, you may mess it up by writing it out, but the best part about that is you now have something tangible to work with. Too many people allow this fear to cripple them, stopping them from actually writing, because they are afraid it wont match up with how brilliant it was in their mind. Here's news for you - if it's in your mind, no one can see it's brilliance. Think about that, then start writing November 1st (hehe...)

From Pinterest
5. Put it in perspective
If you've committed to writing a novel in a month, that is a HUGE accomplishment in and of itself. But let's be honest. You can't expect greatness from 30 days of haphazard writing in the midst of a crazy life. The scenario may change if you are a professional writer (please Lord, let me know what that feels like some day) but I'm assuming most of you, like me, have jobs to go to, friends to meet with, and maybe even children to take care of (bless you who do, because I can't image having to balance that with writing and a job just yet). We need to have a healthy perspective about what we are doing.

Writing takes work. To finish 50,000 words in only 30 days (1,667 words a day, mind you) is a huge accomplishment but it's just the tip of the ice berg. Rewriting, editing, critiques and revision are all part of the writing process, so at the end of the month, sit back and pat yourself on the back - you deserve it - but then get right back to it. Finish up the novel, then start back at the beginning again.

Are you joining me in writing a novel for NaNoWriMo? If so, please comment below so we can keep in communication (we'll be virtual writing buddies!). And, make sure you check out their amazing website www.nanowrimo.org to sign up and keep track of your progress.