It’s November in exactly one week and I’m not ready. For most people, November means cold – or hot, if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere – weather, school or work, and, well, that strange time before Christmas comes around again.
For us writers, November means NaNoWriMo and that time where we try and forget to world to actually write a book. Or keep on working on our current one. This sort of writing frenzy is taking over the world in November. I took part in this frenzy only twice, so I’m not saying I’m an expert or anything, but if I royally FAILED the first time, I kind of managed to win the damn thing the second time. Obviously, I thought I might have some wisdom to share in that department, you know, in order not for you to freak out.
That was a joke. It is basically IMPOSSIBLE not to freak out while doing NaNoWriMo. It’s basically part of the whole thing. If you’re not freaking out, chances are you might be a robot, too used to doing NaNoWriMo or… I don’t know, but just GIVE ME YOUR SECRET.
Fun facts about NaNoWriMo you did not ask for
Fun fact: exactly two years ago is when I first started planning out the WIP I finished this very September. Basically, I’m super-grateful for NaNo for making me write words on pages that haven’t left me for two years, and will only left me whenever I’m done editing this thing. Which will probably be, seeing how slow a writer I am, another two years or more.
Another fun fact: I haven’t done NANo since 2015 – not because it killed me (okay, it did, a little bit, but let’s get you NOT to freak out about it right before it starts, shall we) – BUT I used to be a student back in 2015 and the real world killed me in 2016.
But you’re not here for the fun facts, are you?! You’re here to know how I did it, and here it is, I’ll spill all of my secrets.
Dedicate time to write
Time was on my side, I’ll admit it – as a student with not many hours each week, it was easy to find some time to write. THAT BEING SAID, as a full-time worker now, I still managed to squeeze in some time to write in order to finish my WIP. What’s important to remember here is that, if you want to do NaNoWriMo, you should prepare to squeeze in your busy schedule some time to write, and stick to it the best that you can. BE ORGANIZED. Monica Geller should be your goal.
I used to write each day on particular hours, hours where I tried to get off everyhing, open my Word doc and just WRITE. Thing is, you have to take the time to do so – fit it into your November routine and, before you know it, it wil be your little habit.
It sucks? KEEP ON GOING ANYWAY.
I know that my first draft sucked. It’s still somehere on my computer and I know it’s very, very bad. Nothing makes sense, characters aren’t fleshed out enough, one character actually CHANGES HIS NAME right in the middle of the book.
Yet, the worst thing you can do to yourself is stop writing and give up. You might be writing the next New York Times Bestseller, and they all started as stupid, not-making-sense first drafts. Or so I want to hope. When in doubt, as yourself this very question: “Do I want to finish this story? Do I want to see how it all ends?”
If the answer is yes, just keep on going. I know I probably thought about 500 times in November 2015 that this all sucked and it wasn’t worth it. But, asking myself this very question, the answer was always, always yes. So I just WROTE. Do it as well. I promise you’ll be proud.
Don’t look at the word-count per day too much.
I know. What am I saying here?! When you’re doing NaNoWriMo, in order to reach the 50 000 words, you have to write 1 667 WORDS EACH DAY. That word-count is great, because it gives you a goal and it keeps you on track. My weird advice here is, don’t follow it.
When I won NaNoWriMo, it wasn’t because I managed to write 1 667 words everyday. It was because I wrote 600 somedays, nothing other days and 4 000 on Sundays sometimes. Some people will be able to write these words every day, some people will be writing slowly, some people will be writing less, or more, on weekends. Thing, with NANoWriMo, is that you can ALWAYS catch up if you’re beihind one day. Don’t let that word-count get you down.
Remember that you are not alone
This might not be an advice taken straight from my NaNo win back in 2015, because the only think I did in order not to be alone is blog about it all. Back when I was a little newbie. It wasn’t big, really, I wrote two or three blog posts about it, yet… it helped. People answered with sweet comments, supportive words and it gave me motivation to go on, knowing that I could do this, knowing that some people, even if they were just two or something, supported me.
There are many things you can do in order to find your writing buddies. Some bloggers you might know might do it – they might have mentionned it on their blogs, over on twitter or something. You can TALK TO THEM, you can set up a conversation somewhere over on Twitter DMs or something, in order to keep in touch and support each other. You might blog about it all, tell about your progress and struggles – people will be there. You can also check out the NaNoWriMo Twitter, the NaNo Writing Sprints Twitter as well, to motivate yourself and find other people.
November is THE MONTH FOR WRITERS – rest assured that you are not alone struggling and crying over three poor words you managed to write or characters you haven’t figured out. If that’s not reassuring, I don’t know what is.
Forget the 50 K altogether and just WRITE
This is the moment where you’re all going to hate me. Also, probably ask yourself what is wrong with this advice.
If winning NaNoWriMo by writing 50 K is great, awesome, exhilarating and everything else – writing altogether is something worth celebrating. Back when I managed to write all the words and win, I never thought I would, yet I felt super accomplished at being able to write, at wanting to write, at having this feeling that had left me for so many years before. Feeling of creating something with the tips of your fingers, even if it’s just characters and worlds I myself will forever be the only one knowing.
I didn’t want to reach for the 50K. I thought it was pretty awesome I was this inspired to write. Then I managed to write like, 4 K in one day and…catch up on some words I had missed in the past days. Then my inspiration was here, I wrote, wrote, wrote and wrote 50 K in one month and won. Thing is: if I’m pretty proud of winning NaNo, I’m prouder of managing to keep a writing discipline and getting my words out there. 50 K or not. So, reach out for words, not for a word count AND JUST WRITE.
You’re probably asking yourself a question now. What the heck is she doing talking about NaNo? Is she going to do it? Why is she talking in third-person?!! Sorry.
I know I’m never going to be able to write every single day in November. I know I won’t write 50 K and win NaNoWriMo next month. I just finished writing a WIP and I don’t know if I’m ready to launch myself into another story. Instead, I think I finally know what I’m going to do, using the November writing frenzy to launch myself back into writing, well…
EDITING. Ugh. I’m not ready, but I’m also ready. I don’t know. I guess we’ll see how that goes.
Are you going to do NaNoWriMo this year? Did you already do it? What would be your advice to, well…chil out? WHAT ARE YOU WRITING ABOUT, TELL ME EVERYTHING.
Do you usually have writing buddies? Do you shout into the void or on your blog about your writing, or not?
If you’re not usually a writer… does this little writing frenzy online makes you want to try it out? Why, or why not? Let me know in comments!