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.

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