Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Charlie's Ramblings (25) My Tips on Surviving NaNoWriMo!

This will be my third year joining in on NaNoWriMo!  By now I've picked up a few things along the way, to keep me motivated and making it to 50K.  I have done this once out of the last two times so surely I had done something right.. rihgt? lol  So here they are.

1. Caffeine and lots of it.  If you want to make it to 50K it's best to write every day.  Since my best writing is usually done at night time, I do need that little kick in the backside to stay awake.  This is where caffeine comes in.  Very useful.

2. Write EVERY day.  You must churn out at least 1666 words every day just to stay on target in reaching NaNoWriMo.  So really, think about this, you miss two days on the weekend of what could be some really good progress on your novel. So that by itself is 3332 words behind.  Imagine doing that a few times.  Trust me, the end of the month sneaks up on you so fast that by the time it's here you are roughly 20,000 words behind, three days to do it.. and it's looking quite grim that you will ever make 50K

3. Take your notebook/ipad/laptop EVERY where.  And that doesn't discount weddings, birthday parties.... etc. You see what I'm getting at?  You never know when inspiration is going to hit, or out of nowhere you solve that niggling problem that has halted your writing.  This is one habit even after Nano I recommend keeping.  I may be a little obsessive about my notebooks though when you think about it.  Yes to those who know me that is a BIG understatement.  I carry about three notebooks on me.  I've got a notebook on my bedside table, a few in my computer room, out on the kitchen bench.. everywhere.  So you can never have too many.  That goes for writing instruments too!

4. Designate a Beta reader to your WIP.  This is extremely useful.  You will need a beta reader who will be able to overlook your grammatical errors and plot changes halfway through LOL.  I have one beta reader who keeps me on my toes at Nano Time.  I can never write fast enough and she is part of the reason I keep writing even when I get to that point of.. meh I've lost interest in this story.  She's there to kick my butt and say "But WHAT happened next?!  Don't leave me hanging!!!".  Which leads to my next bullet point.

5. Finish up each night with a cliffhanger/leaving this story in the middle of action.  Sometimes we need to stop to eat, work and actually rest.  The best thing I've found when writing is leaving the scene right in the middle of action or other spot where you know what happens next and are eager to write it.  When you come back to the story you won't be saying "Well crap, where is my story going?" because you will be able to pick up where you left off.

6. You need an idea that can hold water.  Sound odd?  Of course not.  Nothing worse than having an idea for a story but the idea isn't enough to hold your attention and to see it through.  I'm a pantser naturally.  I like discovering my story as I write so plotting my idea sounds organized and that's one word that I'm not.  Having a strong idea/storyline and a rough idea of where you MIGHT want to take the story is a necessity though.  Even if the end destination of your story is completely different to how you imagined.  You NEED something.

So these are my own rules for Surviving NaNoWriMo.  What are yours? 

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