It’s full of crisp days (at least, in the U.S.) and preparing for Thanksgiving (again, at least, in the U.S.) and dudes growing out moustaches and lots of novelists racing to write 50,000 words by the end of the month.
I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo for the last three years, and y’all, the struggle is real. Writing 50,000 words in a month is not an easy feat—and that much harder when you have a full-time job that isn’t writing, holiday plans, and any semblance of a social life.
In fact, I wasn’t going to do NaNoWriMo this year. I just participated in Camp NaNoWriMo in July (same idea, slightly different rules) and then I moved to Singapore and I just finished drafting a WIP I had started a couple years ago and had set aside and am in the middle of revising a novella and the WIP I just drafted, so I thought, ‘Maybe I need a bit of a brain break.’
And then this morning I thought, “No. No brain breaks. Write all the things!”
Though I’m jumping into this year’s NaNoWriMo head first, I’m guessing many of you are not.
Because you are smarter and wiser and better than me.
And I’m guessing that there are some of you out there who are new to NaNoWriMo and looking for some advice. So, here is mine.
Erin Brown’s Handy-Dandy NaNoWriMo Tips:
- Don’t think, just write: Write whatever comes into your head. It doesn’t have to be sequential, it doesn’t have to be perfect, hell, it doesn’t even have to make sense. Just sit down and write. Get the words out of your head and in your manuscript. Deal with making the words into readable sentences later. If there’s a typo, fix it later. If you can’t remember a character’s name write THAT CHARACTER WHOSE NAME I CAN’T REMEMBER and keep going. If you get stuck, write yourself a note that says FINISH THIS LATER, then abandon that scene and move on. Don’t let yourself get bogged down. Just. Write.
- Don’t go back and edit: This is the hardest thing for me to do. I love revising. Revising is the best. But if I stop drafting and go back to read what I wrote the day or week before, I’ll start revising. And that is a black hole. If i start revising before I’ve finished drafting, it will take me YEARS to finish drafting. (This happened to me with Taking Flight. And though I’m happy with how that book turned out, if I had never started revising while drafting, it would’ve taken half the time to finish it.)
- Don’t let yourself feel like a failure: If you don’t hit your daily word count or if you don’t hit your overall word count goal, THAT’S OKAY. I promise. You haven’t failed. You haven’t let anyone down. What you’ve done is started writing a freaking book. And that is something to be proud of, no matter how many words you end up with.
- Don’t take everyone’s advice: If you’re reading these tips and thinking, “This isn’t how my brain works. This will never work for me,” that’s totally fine! Writing is a very personal, personalized thing. For example, I tend to be a pantser (someone who doesn’t really outline) and I write from beginning to end. Most writers I know do not write this way and cannot wrap their brains around how I write like this. But I can’t figure out how they write out of sequence—that makes my brain hurt. So whatever works for you, do it. Find your groove. Find your stride. And go.
If you’re participating in NaNoWriMo and want to be my writing buddy, feel free to add me by clicking here.
Happy Novel Writing Month, everyone!