Friday, November 6, 2015

Survival Guide for Your First National Novel Writing Month

By Sarah Reichert

Hello beginner. Hello little writer friend. Hello newbie. This month you’ve decided, against your better judgment and most common sense, to sign into a NANOWRIMO dashboard. You made up a title (or spent forty minutes trying to and ended up just naming it A Book About A Guy and A Carrot) and now are receiving approximately thirty messages a day from the NANOWRIMO website encouraging you to stop checking your messages and start writing.

Well, here, at The Writing Bug, in my fourth year of participation (practically an expert—eye roll) I’m going to tell you how to get it done with a handy list. All you need to know about a successful NANOWRIMO experience is here:
  • Why are you reading my blog? Seriously. You should be writing. Tip number one is to forgo all other activities on the Internet. I find hiking into a deserted canyon with my laptop strapped to my back and fending off rabid coyotes with my thesaurus is the best way to avoid the temptation of web-surfing. 
  • Stop Sleeping. Honestly, that’s 8 decent hours of writing time that you’re missing out on. Sleep is only sort-of essential. Just use toothpicks to prop your eyelids open and invest in intravenous caffeine injections.
  • Kiss your family goodbye for the next four weeks. They’ll probably still know you love them even as you mutter in crazy half sentences about plot arcs and character flaws. (Or they’ll send the men in the white coats to the house and you'll get to wear what I affectionately refer to as an “adult swaddle blanket”. Just make sure you can still get your fingers to the keys.)
  • Don’t edit. This is actually is a serious tip. Don’t edit your work in progress this month at all. Just write. And no cheating by pulling a Jack Torrance and writing “all words and no meaning makes Sarah go something something.” Just because you’re not editing doesn’t mean you aren’t responsible for some semblance of plot.
  • The NANOWRIMO police will hunt you down for failure to comply. No. Not really. That’s the thing about this crazy month. The only person you’re really accountable to is yourself. 
So, find the spare moments. Give every moment you can find into putting those words down and enjoy your new excuse to write.

Good luck out there, now stop reading and get to writing.

If you haven't joined, its not too late. Here's the link to get started.


Patricia Stoltey said...

I have some serious catching up to do -- I wrote 874 words of a totally new project, have a firm grip on what to write next, and clean the bathrooms, go grocery shopping, do all my physical therapy exercises for the knee multiple times a day, and sleep. Yet here I am, reading and commenting on your NaNoWriMo post. Is there hope for me?

Sarah Reichert said...

I certainly hope so, Pat! You've always been an inspiration to me. Some days I'm literally banging my head on the keyboard, hoping something useful will fall onto the page. Today I made myself stay up past my bedtime until I could eek out a few hundred more. I'm so like you when it comes to putting those errand and chores first. I have great faith in you! I'm glad to hear you're doing your physical therapy though...that might trump word count.

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