NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. Every year, hundreds of thousands of writers from around the world get together (virtually) to write 50,000 words of their novel within the 30 days on November. To break it down further, this means that you must write 1667 words every day of November.
I have been taking part and succeeding in NaNoWriMo for the last six years. My debut novel, Birds of Prey, was first written during NaNoWriMo.Here are ten tips for writing everyday and breezing through NaNoWriMo with ease:
- Change your mindset
Writing 1667 words everyday might seem like a daunting task but remember that many famous writers wrote more than this everyday all around the year.
“I like to get ten pages a day, which amounts to 2,000 words. That’s 180,000 words over a three-month span, a goodish length for a book — something in which the reader can get happily lost, if the tale is done well and stays fresh,” says Stephen King in his book ‘On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.’ He also states, “I used to tell interviewers that I wrote every day except for Christmas, the Fourth of July, and my birthday. That was a lie. I told them that because if you agree to an interview you have to say something, and it plays better if it’s something at least half-clever. Also, I didn’t want to sound like a workaholic dweeb (just a workaholic, I guess). The truth is that when I’m writing, I write every day, workaholic dweeb or not. That includes Christmas, the Fourth, and my birthday (at my age you try to ignore your goddam birthday anyway). And when I’m not working, I’m not working at all, although during those periods of full stop I usually feel at loose ends with myself and have trouble sleeping. For me, not working is the real work.”
Stop the negative self-talk and tell yourself that this is easily doable.
- Create accountability
Announce publicly that you are attempting NaNoWriMo this year. Join the online forums where the participants encourage and motivate each other to write more and meet the daily word count. Writing sprints are organised on Facebook and Twitter on the NaNoWriMo forums. Take part in them.
- Give up perfection
NaNoWriMo is about reaching your word count for the day and completing the first draft of your novel in November. This is not a time to obsess on perfection and ponder upon the right word. Rewriting and editing must happen after the month of November.
- Create a plan
Writing 1667 words everyday would take about two hours of your time. Plan and decide which are the two hours in your day that you will allocate to writing. Give up television, Netflix, Facebook scrolling and YouTube binge watching,and you will be easily able to find those two hours in your day. You can watch my video here to learn about how you can create a writing plan for NaNoWriMo.
- Carve out a brief outline
Having a brief outline can help you enormously while you are NaNoWriMoing (Is there such a word?) Recently, I made a video on how I outline for NaNoWriMo and spoke about the Headlights method and the Snowflake method of outlining. You can watch the video here.
- Do not beat yourself up
There will be days when life will get the better of you. There will be days when you are unable to write. Do not beat yourself up about it. Don’t let those couple of days define you. Put in a few extra hours and you will easily be able to catch up with your word count goals.
- Do not reread
When you reread what you have written, you end up tinkering with it and working on making it perfect. In the first draft, you are only discovering your story and characters. So, keep writing forward without turning back.
- Do not obsess
Pitching the book, deciding the genre or worrying whether the book is publishable are things that must happen after NaNoWriMo. So, do not obsess about anything in November except completing your wordcount goals.
- Sleep well
Sleep is an integral part of creativity. Sleep helps you write your story organically. Do not give up your sleep to write. Six to seven hours of sleep are essential to a happy and creative life.
- Save your work
Most writers who are lost in the frenzy of writing forget to save their work. Laptops and pen drives are unpredictable and undependable. So, save your work to some cloud storage consistently. Another method to create a backup of your work is to just mail it to yourself every evening.
Finally, remember Stephen King’s words and remind yourself about the purpose of writing every day. “Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.”
Archana Sarat is the author of the psychological crime thriller, ‘Birds of Prey’, that has gathered acclaim for being a gripping and riveting read. Her recent book, ‘Tales from The History of Mathematics’ is a collection of 26 short stories that depict how mathematics evolved over the years. Apart from being a Chartered Accountant, she has a Diploma in Creative Writing from The Writers Bureau, UK and is a Certified Life Coach from the International Coach Federation, USA. You can connect with her at www.archanasarat.com
Archana is the Founder of Read Write Inspire, a writer’s studio where you can find a variety of resources to help writers. She vlogs about her writing journey and shares valuable writing tips on YouTube in the channel, Read Write Inspire.
( Thumbnail courtesy- National Novel Writing Month)