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NaNoWriMo Tips

NaNoWriMo Veterans Share Their Secrets


Does writing a novel in a month suddenly seem insane? Has your plot petered out or taken a weird turn? What kind of music should you listen to? How much should you plot ahead of time? In keeping with the generous spirit of the event, veteran wrimos share their favorite NaNoWriMo tips and secrets.

Want to share your stories and secrets? Scroll down!

1. NaNoWriMo Tips from Sakura

"Try to write every day. But if you can’t, don’t worry. Just make sure you catch up on the weekends. As long as your weekly count is on target, you’ll finish. And if you can write a few extra words, then that will boost your confidence (and word count, too).

Having a simple ten to thirteen point outline (one page) will keep you on track and inspire you when you get lost in the intricacies of your plot and run out of words.

And finally, don’t edit your work. You can always go back and revise in December!"

2. From John R.

"One of the things I tried was to let the initial excitement of starting run with my imagination for the first week or so. I didn’t overly plan, but after I got to a point where things slowed, I spent an hour fleshing out the outline, using what I had done to help push to the next part. This gave me plenty of things to do for the next few weeks. Stuck again? I just took a little time to think and let the brain do its work.

Write every day. Don’t get out of the habit -- it’s really hard to get back in. And never give up. We had some people starting over several times. . . .

Most of all, have fun. Otherwise, it isn’t worth it!"

3. From Deanna

"Shamelessly use everyone and everything that has ever happened to you, including the incident with the matches and your mother’s underwear, the commitmentphobe who broke your heart (and your waterproof rabbit), and that freaky neighbor who never wore a shirt and your friends ridiculed, but you secretly longed for. Then of course, use the names of your other friends in place of yours.

But never, ever, stop having fun. NaNoWriMo is a race to write, not a road to perfection."

4. From Kelly

"I will submit the very traditional 'word tricks’:

Always spell out numbers. (twenty five = two words)
Use characters’ full names. (Mr. Jay Ray Le Foi = five words)
Never use hyphens. (self importance = two words)
And, if you’re very desperate, expand your contractions. (do not = two words)

Write something every day, even if it’s only one sentence. Read the forums for entertainment and encouragement. Have fun!"

5. From Laura

"I think the only thing that's worked for me is to FULLY COMMIT. Enter NaNoland, where novelling is your goal in life and winning is everything. Sit your butt in the chair and put the words on the page. Remember the wise words of founder Chris Baty: "1,667 words or nobody eats!" Push yourself to do more if you can, as you'll eventually skip a day and feel that much more overwhelmed. Picture yourself as Ernest Hemingway, banging out prose on an ancient typewriter. Visualize whatever legions of prolific writers you need to in order to feel inspired and like you are not alone on this wild and crazy journey. Don't stop until you hit 50,000 words. Never give up, never surrender!!!!"

6. From Jenn J.

"Have lots of up-tempo music. Slow music can make you sleepy or too relaxed. Choose fast music, or just music with a good beat. You can write to a rhythm.

Take breaks once an hour. Don’t get eye strain or muscle fatigue. Drink lots of water. Getting dehydrated is easy."

7. From Jennifer

"What worked best for me was telling the people closest to me that I was participating. . . . in fact, I had a side wager going with a friend as to what I would have to do for him if I DIDN’T complete 50,000 words. Sounds silly, but just knowing that someone other than me knew I was signed up provided real motivation. Not to mention it was great to have a cheering section of friends and family urging me on!"

8. From MonkeyBoy

"Why are you reading this? You have a novel to write!

Do not be afraid to let the novel take its own directions. . . . Oh, and weird is good in a NanoNovel. Who do you think you are: Joyce Carol Oates? Oh, wait: she does weird really well, too. . . . "

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