Well, October is over the half way mark and for a lot of people that means gearing up for this year's NaNoWriMo. If you aren't familiar, November is National Novel Writing Month. Every year thousands of people sign up online and pledge to write a 50,000 word novel in thirty days. With daily word counters, a supportive online community and pep talks from some fantastic writers, it's a great way to blow your writer's block right out of the water. After all, there's no better silencer for the inner critic than a looming deadline. Unfortunately, I won't be participating this year, I'm deep in editing land, but I was a winner for the June Camp NaNoWriMo and so I thought I'd share a few of my tips and tricks for anyone who's considering giving it a try this year.
1) First off, do not fall behind. Hit your targets every day, right from the start. Don't assume that you'll be able to catch up on the weekend when you have all that free time. You won't. Believe me. You just won't.
2) However, if you do fall behind, don't give up. Yeah, I know what I just said, but falling behind doesn't mean you get to throw in the towel. Dig deep, throw in a few very late nighters and you'll be back on track.
3) Have an idea of your story before you start. No, you don't have to have it all mapped out ahead of time (unless you want to) but have a general idea of the characters, the plot. It'll keep you from staring at a blank page, wondering where the hell you're going with all this. Use this time before the start date to chew on your story, let it start building in your head and then let the momentum take you.
4) If your story just isn't working, change it. NaNoWriMo is the perfect chance to experiment with your writing. Think about it, with no time to care about the rules, you can be free to just create. (Because really, that's what it's all about.)
5) Please remember: Although it's called National Novel Writing Month, at the end you will NOT have a finished novel. What you will have is a rough draft and a very satisfying feeling of accomplishment. Don't get me wrong, completing a 50,000 word manuscript in a month is extremely impressive, but don't forget that there's a lot of work to follow. I won in June 2012, and I'm still editing. And frankly, I will be for a while. Every rough draft needs a ton of work before it's suitable for an agent, a publisher and the general public.
6) Have fun! I know that sounds like a cliche, but it really is fun. Incredibly stressful fun. But as your fingers race over the keyboard, pounding out word after word, an undeniable feeling of elation begins to envelope you. It's magic!
All right, good luck and God bless! I'll see you on the other side.