Thursday, October 9, 2014

NaNo Season: Tips and Tricks

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Karlie with you, offering tips and tricks to survive National Novel Writing Month, which is (gulp) less than a month away.

How To Survive The First Week
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Sweatshirt
  • Notebook
  • A Very Good Idea

How To Survive The Second Week

  • Call your neighbor to water your plants, and let her know you're not dead so the police don't suddenly show up one day.
  • Remember that it's unhealthy to go two solid weeks without a shower
  • Drink more coffee.
  • Keep pressing forward, even though your Very Good Idea is rapidly becoming more and more complicated.
  • Remember that at some point, sleep is necessary
  • Keep typing. 

How To Survive The Third Week

  • Forget about editing, you don't have time!
  • If you feel like adding pink dragons, go for it. There's always December to edit it out.
  • Don't be afraid to experiment.
  • Drink coffee.
  • DO NOT GIVE UP! The end is in sight.
  • Sleep? What is that?
The last week is the hardest for some, panic mode for others, and the downhill slide for a significant few. But you will make it, because you did not come this far to give up!


How do you survive these days and weeks of magical, stressful insanity? Do you discover things you didn't know about yourself and your writing? Did an incredible story emerge?

Caitlin:  Ha, this post had me laughing out loud. :)  What story couldn't be improved with pink dragons? I don't have much to add being a #nanofail myself. But good luck to you and everyone else who is gearing up for NaNo!

Dan: What a wonderful (and timely) post idea! First, let me say this: if you're serious about writing, you should really do NaNoWriMo. I often hear friends saying, "Oh, I would do that, but November isn't a good month for me." Of course it's not a good month. Two of those thirty days are treasured American holidays: Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

Look at your calendar and think about it: is there really a month that's wide open, with no family or work commitments, when you could write for 30 days straight? I doubt it. So if you want to get 50,000 words on paper in a short time, you might as well do it alongside thousand of other writers. Try it at least once. Even if you don't win (reach 50K), you'll be glad you participated.

I highly recommend planning ahead. There are plenty of ways to get ready for NaNoWriMo before November 1st. You won't have time to outline or do much research next month. Now's a good time to build up goodwill with family and friends. You might also want to get ahead on laundry, sleep, and personal hygiene. 

Lisa: I LOVE the NaNo process--I even won last year--but I'm not so keen on participating on the actual site again this year. So now I'm sad because I can't participate in National Novel Writing Month, and neither can anyone else who has left the site. Right? Wrong.

As I said, the idea of setting aside a month for people to write a book is amazing. But what about the few who don't want to go the traditional NaNo route? Or what about those who want to write a novel in a month at different times of the year? Or every month of the year?

There are tons of sites that offer a goal/word count meter. And as long as you already belong to your own writing community, you're set.

Some, like Valorpen (a site where I'm both a member and editor, :) shameless plug), offer both a community and a meter. Valorpen is a writing community that has threads in which you can delete your forum posts as well as the actual thread you created. There are NaNo discussions, there is a word count/goal meter. It's free, as in it costs no money (just like the Credit Karma commercial...please excuse the TV addict). You can also upload your current and/or past project in a private and safe setting and glean helpful feedback from others in the community. Though I obviously like Valorpen best, I have to acknowledge other sites that people are seemingly happy with: Wattpad and Figment for example. Also, there's a much smaller site called Write and Review in which the feedback and the threads are for much more laidback writers. Though none of these latter sites have a word count meter last I checked, plenty of writers are happy there as well.

It's possible you already have a writing community. Do you like it? Keep it. You can get a word count/goal meter elsewhere. There's a very thorough post about them on Tracy Lucas's blog, complete with a list of 13 word tracker meters. They're all free, and she even gives a short review on them. By the way, Tracy has a mound of other great blog posts; you should check them out.

So all is not lost if you want to go your own way. Write your book in a month anyway. Post your progress on this blog (whichever route you take), and we'll heartily cheer you on! Good luck to all NaNoers! I'll be trucking right along with you :)

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