Nanowrimo Tips 2018: I’ve Been There

I guess it was the time change, but I woke up at 6 am this morning. It’s not 8 am yet, but my daily words for Nano are done (1782). Awesome because I have lots of other writing projects I need to get done today.

This is my fourth year doing Nanowrimo and I love it. I’ve been successful three years, but I did fail one year (2nd year).

I would like to say something. Last night, I found numerous posts on Twitter about Nano and many of them were worries and complaints about already being behind on their Nano word count on day three.

So here are a few tips and/or personal thoughts on Nanowrimo meant only to encourage.

1. Get out of your head. I always say, and of course, I made this up, that 75% of your life happens in your head. No one around you cares if you do Nano or not, so focus on yourself and your own goals. If you do Nano and you get 12K words toward your writing goal, then you are 12K closer to completion. Give yourself a break, but keep working.

2. Nano should be a passion project. If you aren’t burning to write it then you are more probable to crash and burn. What do you really want to write? Regardless of the series I’m working on, I use Nano to write what I really want to work on, even if it’s completely out of the genre I normally write.

3. Break it up and don’t stop to edit. You need to hit 1,667 words per day. If that seems too daunting, then break it up into 850 in the morning and 850 in the evening. Something I do that helps hit my word count faster is, I turn on the speech to text option on my Mac. I type and I speak. I find this works really well when creating my dialogue.

4. Play to your strengths. Since I have a Theatre background, the dialogue comes easily to me. Maybe you really like settings or like to focus on action- whatever it is do that first. See where just writing the description of each scene takes you. Then if a line of dialogue or a bit of action pops into your head, put it into your scene. Nanowrimo is not meant to be anywhere close to a final draft. You can focus on that later, but in order to have something to edit you must write it down first. If it sucks, let it suck, and worry about it later.

5. Writing is a sacrifice. Even though it only takes an hour or two to write your daily word count, those are two hours that some of us don’t have so you have to carve out those hours. You have to turn off the TV, go offline, cook a simpler meal, skip an outing somewhere, or wake up earlier. Dreams are easy, but making them come true takes work. Stephen King said something along these lines- Talent is as cheap as table salt, what makes the difference is hard work.

If a new first draft is what you want, then keep writing.

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