There is just one day to the start of NaNoWriMo 2017 and while I won’t be participating this year (I am currently mid-manuscript), I thought I’d share a few things I learnt last year.
- Work with your most developed story idea. This might seem obvious, but it can be tempting to begin writing the story you have a strong opening for, or a great character. But at some point you will lose momentum and that’s when you will need to refer back to your original plan or outline to help carry you through the rest.
- Some days, you won’t write much (or at all). If you have a particular day of the week, let’s say Tuesday, when you regularly work a full day, go to a fitness class afterwards and pick up the groceries on the way home, you are unlikely to be able to make the 1667 word target for that day. Instead, figure out which days you can write more and average your words across the week rather per day.
- Daydream like crazy! You need to think about your novel 24/7. Forget about your job; if you don’t daydream, you won’t have new material to work with when you next sit down at the computer*.
- Carry a notebook everywhere. As you will be daydreaming at every possible opportunity (and sometimes when you’re not supposed to), the ideas for your novel will probably pop up at random times. It is important to write these down so you can insert them into your story later, making it a richer and more interesting novel. Write down everything, even if it’s just the name for the character previously known as ‘that Spanish guy’.
- Know how to deal with writer’s block. Writer’s block is normal during NaNoWriMo. You are trying to push through an amazing number of words, much faster than you normally would. As a result, there will be a time when you sit down at the computer, stare at the cursor and wonder what comes next. Don’t give up. You haven’t failed yet. What you need to do is write down twenty things which could happen next. Most will be too obvious, some will be ridiculous, a few will give you ideas and one, or mixtures from a couple, will guide you forward.
So, as you prepare to embark on this journey of the mind, stretch your fingers, go with the unbelievable and remember that you are not alone.
*No responsibility will be taken for job setbacks or loses as a result of this advice.