On Monday, I’ll begin teaching How To Get Ready for NaNoWriMo for the very last time. The class is going into retirement and eventually into the archived classes over at my Zenler writing school portal.
Today, I thought I’d share with you what I think are the top five tips you need to know to stand the best chance of getting to the 50,000 word mark by Nov 30th.
Tip #1-Don’t Start Cold
For those of you who live in colder climates, you know it’s a smart idea to warm your car up before getting in and driving it on a winter’s day.
The same goes for writing. Don’t think you can start a story by turning on the computer or looking at a sheet of paper, and your fingers are going to fly across the screen or page.
Okay, some people can do it, but the rest of us, we need to warm up just like the car.
Spend five or ten minutes each day free writing. It could even be notes about the story you’re working on or just a journal entry, but write something.
Tip #2-Be An Athlete in Training
You wouldn’t run a marathon without some training and don’t expect to win the NaNoWriMo challenge without prior conditioning. Spend the month of October getting into a writing routine and making it a habit. They say it takes 30 days to form a habit and October offers you an extra day so use it.
Tip #3-Have a Writing Schedule
Remember my post about rituals? Put one in place for NaNoWriMo. Mark the time you’ll write on your calendar and put together anything that will remind you it’s writing time. A cup of tea or your favorite CD playing in the background. I even know some writers who light a candle.
Tip #4-Prepare to Fail
Go in with the attitude that you’re going to kick NaNoWriMo butt but at the same time know that some days are going to be tough. It takes the pressure off you and when that’s acknowledged, you can use it as the driving force to carry on.
Tip #5-Never Throw in the Towel
This is sort of related to tip 4. There are days when you don’t want to write. When the story just isn’t coming together how you planned. Don’t give up. Travel farther into your plotline and start writing again. Or, if the worst happens, start writing another story. I don’t think there’s any rule that says those 50,000 words have to be all for the same story! Writing 50,000 words is an achievement in itself.