For most of us, today signifies Halloween, candy, scary movies. But for some of us, it's a day of panic as we figure out how in the world we're going to begin—and survive—National Novel Writing Month [or NaNoWriMo]. For those of you not familiar with NaNoWriMo, it's a collective attempt by thousands of authors to complete a 50,000-word novel from scratch in 30 days between November 1 and November 30. The task is more than daunting, even for those of us who've done it before [this is year 5 for me].
Last year I came up with 11 tips for surviving NaNoWriMo, which I will list again here:
1.) Taking your laptop to Starbucks doesn't make you a writer—writing does
2.) Avoid social networking sites [and probably the internet in general] at all costs
3.) Writing is more than just sitting at a keyboard—it's a 24/7 thought process
4.) Don't reread your entire novel from the beginning every time you sit down to write
5.) Think in terms of word count instead of page numbers [our goal is 1,667 words a day]
6.) Write a story you'd want to read
7.) Never make anything easy for your characters
8.) If you don't know your voice, don't waste 30 days trying to find it—just write
9.) Find a muse
10.) Edit, but not until December 1
11.) Trust your instincts
I am foolishly editing a novel right now that I know I won't finish before I begin writing my new novel tomorrow [or at midnight—not yet sure if I want to stay up that late since I have to work in the morning]. For the first time since starting NaNoWriMo, I'm admittedly a bit nervous. In 2010, I wrote 6 complete novels. This year, thanks to devoting most of my time to editing the Bloodline series, I've started 2 new novels and completed none. Writing is a habit, and it's easier when you're in the habit. I know I'll find my stride—and you will, too—if we can just make it through the first few days.
If you're looking for a buddy on NaNoWriMo, you can find me and follow my progress on After the Fall—Book 1 here. Good luck, everyone—I look forward to reaching that 50,000 word goal soon!!