With NaNoWriMo slinking around the corner, many of us are saying quietly to ourselves…
There’s nothing like writing 50,000-words in a month to both fill you with anticipation and dread, basically DREADTATION. It feels so so good to complete NaNoWriMo, to finish a book, to conquer a challenge. But actually doing the writing part of it? That’s really really hard. Not impossible, but really [pauses to cry] really hard.
If you aren’t familiar with NaNoWriMo, definitely check out their website. But basically it’s a challenge. It’s like a challenge to drink 3 litres of water a day. The reward for that is you’re hydrated. The reward for NaNo is you’ve finished a book and you’re so sleep deprived you accidentally did a blood sacrifice with your neighbour to finish on time. (KIDDING!!! You totally would not…do…that…)
You only have to write the 1,700 words a day, which isn’t that much. You just have to know what to write everyday, which sometimes is rather hard.
This will be my 6th year of NaNo, and that’s not a streak I can break (obviously, c’mon, I am a Slytherin), but I confess that I am actually feeling underprepared this year. Probably because I have not prepared. But let’s stuff that little reality in the corner and look at it later. The fact is: I have done FIVE years of NaNoWriMo and won each time. My best time was finishing in 2 days. My most ridiculous/stupid time was cram-writing in the last week after having been away for a month. And my most exhausting time was launching in after I’d just finished a massive intensive rewrite on an epic fantasy on a deadline — my brain was MUSH. That NaNo was…a mess. But hey! I still won.
I love doing NaNo and knowing thousands of people are writing every day and spinning magic into the midnight sky. Worldwide WRITING CLUB. 🙌🏻
Also did you know my novel that came out this year with Hachette UK (The Boy Who Steals Houses) was my 2016 NaNoWriMo project!?? So SEE. Anything is possible.
But in case the idea of writing 50K in a month is making you feel like you have a swarm of anxious bees in your mouth, I thought that I would…
give you some tips to win NaNoWriMo and finish your book in a month!
You’ve got this. 😌🙌🏻 Also feel free to add me as a buddy!
other posts you might find helpful…
So it can suck! Did you hear me? FIRST DRAFTS CAN SUCK. They !!! are globally known !!! to be awful !!! And even if you write clean drafts (which is fine, I’ve started focusing more on this myself, but it takes me way longer to write a draft), the point still is to keep moving forward and get the draft done. Think of your first draft like a skeleton.
NaNo is for just digging the bones out of their gnarly grave and doing a little dark magic.
And by this I mean 👀 don’t act like it’s not a big deal that you want to write a book. It is a big deal. It’s special and important. I can be wholly hard to carve out time (especially with school and family and work commitments), but snatch your times and make them sacred.
And seriously, get off twitter. Take yourSELF seriously means prioritising what you WANT. And you want the draft.
Put aside time. Legit, wrestle it out of the darkness and claim it as your own. You only have 1 hour to write? Make it count. And try not to leave writing 2K to the 20mins before bed, because…I don’t know. Do you want to die? Do you? 🤨
Even if you’re not a plotter, it’s still helpful to go in with SOME sort of plan. Look, you don’t have time for writer’s block and you don’t have time to restart your book 40 x while trying to find the right scene. Even if you just write a bullet-point list of things that need to happen, your characters’ goals, and a rough idea of the ending.
If you’re going to hurl yourself screaming into a novel on a deadline — then KNOW where you’re going!!!
This is my favourite cheat-tip 🤗So many people say to me “um, summarising my 80K novel into 3 paragraph is too hard”. Okay so: write 3 paragraphs and then summarise them in an 80K novel. Do the blurb FIRST. (Or query, or synopsis. Whatever fits for you.)
Also this is a great way to know if your book sounds unique and hooky enough. If you can’t write a blurb that makes your soul ignite — then your premise probably needs more work! You can plot it better now, before you’ve written it. And then you don’t have to rewrite so deeply later.
Some people have writing buddies, but!!! The true term is: PANIC BUDDY. And you need one.
“oh but c.g. i don’t have friends,” you say in a small voice.
Eh, neither did I when I started blogging and writing. You make them. There are forums on NaNoWriMo’s website, or you can use twitter hashtags, or follow along with Instagrammers. Start conversations. Be friendly. Support others. Seriously, YOU can be the one who is friendly too. You don’t have to wait for friends to come to you — this is advice from someone with social anxiety!!! The internet makes friendship easier for some reason!!! Less eye-contact and you can answer messages when you’re ready, not before. 😌 SMART.
Also just give updates. I will be nattering away on my Stories on Instagram, because it’s rather motivating to talk about your own progress. You feel seen. But blog, tweet. Whatever it takes to keep you motivated.
Look we all have our writing strengths. Description. Incredibly imaginative worlds. Character banter. Emotional scenes. Action. Whatever it is! LEAN into it. Write the scenes you’re not good at and leave them. Then focus on the thrill of writing the parts you ARE good at. (You can fix the messy things all later.)
Getting through NaNo is about not feeling like piece of soggy bread. So cheer yourself on and revel in your strengths.
One of my personal biggest problems with writing a first draft is that, about 20,000 words in — I’ll always get a dash of sudden inspiration. Sometimes this derails my whole outline and I hate everything (mostly myself). But sometimes it’s just a smaller thing. The villain should have been younger. The book should’ve been set by the sea. I don’t need three characters were two could go. Etc. Etc.
The instant reaction is: oh no I have to start again.
But you don’t.
Just keep writing from where you are, implementing the changes NOW. This way you’re not wasting time writing an old villain when you know it needs to be a young villain. You can fix the first 20K in edits. It honestly doesn’t matter if your book’s beginning doesn’t match the ending right now. Let it be a tattered jacket with elbow patches. Seriously, work with your story and your muse, not against it.
9. don’t self-sabotage
Stop telling yourself you can’t do this!! I will quietly shake you, just a little, and remind you that you are NOT an “aspiring writer” and your writing isn’t “a total garbage fire” and you are not a “dead eyed llama stuffed into a trench coat”. (I mean MAYBE the last one is true, fine. I won’t judge.)
But don’t talk yourself out of writing your book. This is my #2 favourite hobby. My #1 favourite hobby is, of course, deciding my story is unimportant and nooooo one will ever want to read it. Then I move onto deciding I’ll never write it well enough. JUST 🗣STOP 🗣THAT.
It’s a lie, and you know it. Your story is important and you don’t have to get it “right” instantly.
10. write by not writing
And I cannot stress this enough…but I do my best writing when I’m NOT writing. 😂 I literally will get up for a glass of water, and think of a much better way to write a scene. I plan out all my scenes when I go for an afternoon walk. Or sometimes I lie on my bed daydreaming (fine, sometimes it turns into a nap; but other times it’s work.)
If you want to have a very fruitful and productive writing session: KNOW what you’re going to write before you sit down!!
Mentally go through a scene like a movie in your head before you write it (even if it’s just one scene a day!). Let it morph as you go. Give yourself a plan but also be flexible. Writing becomes so much easier then. 😌
| what do you say? |
hellooooo tell me who is doing NaNoWriMo this year? give me a hint on what your book’s about? do you have any other tips to share for those writing a novel in a month?