Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Nanowrimo Tips

As National Novel Writing Month draws to a close, you may be basking in the warm glow of your wonderful word count, existing only to produce more words, any words, anyhow, or you may be wondering why you ever thought in your wildest dreams that you could come up with 50, 000 words in 30 days.

If you are basking, congratulations! It's an incomparable feeling, that moment when you validate that word count. It's glorious. Savour it.

If you are deep into your manuscript, only lifting your fingers from the keyboard long enough to take a swig of your caffeinated beverage of choice, keep going. You're almost there. You can do it.

And, if you're shaking your head at your temerity in thinking that 50K was at all possible, here are some tips for next year.

1. If dirt bothers you, clean your house in October. Get it into routine-maintenance-only shape. You won't have time for anything else in November.

2. If the thought of impending holidays scares the turtles out of you, do the holiday shopping in October (or earlier). Imagine the calm of a closet full of gifts. I know I am. Wish I had made this list in, say, September.

3. Decide on a project before November 1. If you're an outliner, outline -- before November 1. Then just write, from Day 1.

4. Focus on one project for Nano. It's just easier that way. Each day, you get up and work on that one world, with one set of characters who become more and more familiar with each passing page.

5. Sign up even if you don't have any intention of finishing. The Nanowrimo people send out PepTalks by published authors at least once a week throughout the month. Where else can you get pithy writing advice for free? (Well, lots of places, but that's another post.) The thing is, it comes to your inbox. So there you are, minding your own procrastinating business, when whammo, there's a boot up the arse in your email. It's the best.

Oh, and where am I at, in the word count wars? My village was attacked, and I'm stumbling down the road with my meagre possessions in a moth-eaten sack.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Can you call yourself a marathoner if you make like the hare and take a shortcut?

I'm seriously considering (meaning: I've pretty much decided) to adjust my Nano goal to a personal goal of 25K words. My current word count sits at 18,540. 25K seems doable.

On reducing my commitment to "Nano-lite", I feel a new sense of peace. The brow is unfurrowing, the brain is losing that vise-like tendency that was squeezing the life out of all my characters (and not in the good way), and I feel ready, willing and able to get back to story creation...which is a long way from word spewing.

Monday, November 17, 2008


First, let me say that Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) is an incredible motivator.

Second, let me say that a word count of some 12,000 words as of now, is more than a bit off pace.

My solution? I declare this Mini-Marathon Week. I'm going to put on the big push, forget that Christmas is coming, and just write until my hands are claws or my brain explodes or both. Then maybe, just maybe, I'll make it to 50K for the month.