It’s National Novel Writing Month! It’s also Jeni Month since my birthday is right around the corner. But, back to the first.
NaNoWriMo is a great source of inspiration, but it’s also a test of my ability to procrastinate. Having only participated in my first NaNo last year and flunking out like on my b’day, I’m back to doing it again this year. Only this time around, I’m mid-way through an 8,000 word update to book 1, 8,000 words into a women’s fiction book, and 16,000 words into book 2. So, while my goal is still 50,000 words any new words will count. Because if I manage my time wisely, I should be able to finish the edits on book 1, finish the rough draft on book 2, and maybe in my spare time during the time I should be sleeping I can get some decent progress made on the women’s fiction piece.
All over the internet you can find tips and tricks to completing NaNoWriMo. What I have to offer is the prospective of someone who never finished. In other words, a ‘how not to blow NaNo’ list if you will.
1- Don’t get overconfident about your ability to write 50,000 little words. Come on, how hard can it be? In a good weekend I can easily add 8-10k, so a whole month to do 50k will be a cakewalk. NOT! I swear that everything that can possibly pop up in one month will if you keep this cocky attitude.
2- Procrastination is not your friend. I may have redone my Jamberry’s this morning for Dia De Los Muertos, but seriously, I was NOT procrastinating because I hate editing more than going to the dentist–and my dentist is a looker, but still a tooth-drilling sadist I’m sure, so I dread going. Okay, so maybe I was procrastinating a little this morning. Heck, this blog post might even be a way to put off doing my edits. Ugh, the truth is painful. Seriously, don’t procrastinate it will beat you every time.
3- Don’t stress about typos, bad grammar, and punctuation that can/will go awry. I’m not saying these things aren’t important because they are, but you can fix them in December after you finish your NaNo. I’m just saying I am already -2 words into NaNo. Why? Because I wrote something yesterday, hated it and then hated some old words too. Yeah. -2. Envy me yet? I didn’t think so. Just write. That’s the point of NaNo. Save the editing for later.
4- Don’t panic over the word count. Sounds easy enough, right? It really isn’t. There’s something about having a certain number of words I HAVE to write that is enough to dry up every creative fiber in my body. If you have the same issue, then only do your word count at the end of each week. It will make you less of a slave to the damn word count at the bottom of your screen.
5- For those of you who are working on juggling multiple projects like I am, change the color of your font to something other than black in your WIP. Why? Because it makes it easier to later go back, find your new words, highlight them and count the buggers. Trust me, you’ll thank me later. And speaking of later, it’s easy enough to change all your work back to black with a select all then font color change to black.
6- Make a plan. Then make a plan B. Then make a “when all else fails” plan. When you log in to the NaNo site, it gives you this very manageable word count per day to hit your goal. And then when you miss a day, the daily goal gets bigger to make up for it. Here’s the thing. Your kid will get a raging case of vomiting and diarrhea this month or break their foot and need to spend a few hours in the ER or worse yet, multiple hours a week in PT. Either that, or you will decide that this is the year you should host Thanksgiving with 100 guests and you are determined to create every delicious morsel with your bare hands. I kid you not. These things happen and will derail you. So plan A is the goal on the NaNo site. Plan B is to put my butt in my chair for 8 hours a day until I hit 50k. When all else fails is that I’ll lock myself into a closet for a week with a supply of Swedish Fish and SmartWater with a decaf coffee drip in my arm. It won’t be pretty, but it will work. I hope.
7- Celebrate your success. And celebrate your failure too. Regardless if you hit 50k during November or not, you should celebrate the fact that you made writing a priority even if the world intervened and you didn’t hit the mark.
I hope that helps for this year. And if you need a NaNoWriMo buddy, I hear that Jeni Bee is pretty nice to work with, so feel free to hit her up.