Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Advice from a regular

Today’s Nano guest is Pomegranate. She's participated in Nano so many times, she says it has become a routine for her. Here's some of her tride-n-true advice for completing Nano. 


I've completed NaNoWriMo six times, while juggling a full-time job, a household, and all my normal activities. For three years I was also the Municipal Liaison (local writer wrangler) for my county. Getting ready for NaNo in November is now as familiar as getting ready for school in September was when I was younger....and somewhat similar, since I buy school supplies and new clothes (my annual NaNoTshirt).

My experience of NaNoWriMo has been consistent with what Chris Baty describes in No Plot? No Problem! Week 1 is exciting because I'm finally free to write. Week 2 is awful because I'm sleep deprived and wrestling with all the weaknesses I've uncovered in my story. Week 3 is easier because my momentum returns and I see the light at the end of the month. Week 4 is a relief and an exciting rush to the finish line.

Here are my tips for a successful NaNoWriMo:


Write early! - I get up a little early every morning in November and write something before I start my day.  Even if it's only a paragraph, I've started off the day with some progress.

Write often! - I write every single day in November, even if it's only 50 words. Otherwise it's easy to get a bit ahead, rationalize blowing off a couple of days in the middle, and find yourself behind and in a panic at the end. (I learned this from multiple painful experiences!)

Don't look back! - Many people struggle with the internal editor. One way to thwart him is to keep writing without rereading what you've done before. I keep a notebook with a list of characters and things that have happened so far for reference, but I NEVER look back until December. In fact, I create a new document for each day's writing. (I merge them at the end of the month for validation.)

Write in! - My town has a fairly active group of Wrimos and I try to make at least one write-in a week. If you've never written with other people before, you'll be surprised at how much energy you get from simply writing in the same room with other writers. You meet other Wrimos, have an opportunity to brainstorm, and increase your word count. Write-ins are my favorite part of the month.

Thank you, Pomegranate, and good luck! To the rest of you Wrimos: What's your best piece of Nano advice? I know that I, personally, get freaked out if pre-plan my daily and weekly wordcounts ahead of time. I like to count everything. It's a huge stumbling block. This year I've managed to avoid far. What about you guys?


CJ Harley said...

Thanks for bringing in the wisdom of someone who has done NaNo six times. I plan to make NaNo a tradition with me.

Pink Ink said...

Six! Cool.

Great post and ideas. As for me, I do strive for a word goal, otherwise, I am not as productive. Mine is 2k daily, except for Sundays.

Creative A said...

CJ - Thanks for dropping in. Maybe in a few years, I hope to have a tradition of Nano as well.

Pink Ink - I know, six times is awesome, right? I guess as far as word goals, I usually just go with the generic 1,667 words a day. It's sort of tricky for me, because the way my muse ebbs and flows, I either get 800 hard words, or I power-house right through to 2,000+ words. I either exceed or fall short! It sounds like you have a good method going.

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