November has been National Novel Writing Month for a while now, and I’ve participated in the craziness of writing 50,000 words in a new novel between Nov. 1 and Nov. 30. Yes, that’s right, I commit to putting on paper (well, in a Word document), on average of 1,666 words a day for 30 days straight.
That means I’m pretty well not doing much of anything else during November. Except that it’s, er, November, which means there’s that little holiday called Thanksgiving in there. And for me, two weekends where I’m at craft shows to sell doll clothes with my mom. That means, on the other days, I’m a writing maniac.
I’m often asked how I do it, and so, here are my NaNoWriMo secrets.
- Write every day, even if it’s 10 words. This keeps the story fresh in your mind.
- Don’t edit. Not. Even. One. Sentence. Just don’t. Sometimes, I’m writing and saying to myself, “I will have to fix this later,” but plowing ahead without stopping.
- Use generic “names” to keep the momentum going. Instead of pausing to come up with a name for each character, name your main ones but use descriptive titles for the other ones (unless a name just comes to you out of the blue). For example, Lawyer First Last Name, Police Office First Last Name, Hero Best Friend, etc. You get the picture. Try to use the same descriptive title for the same character so you can do an easy search-and-replace when you’ve come up with a name for that character.
- When you don’t know what to write, throw in a fire or blow something up. In other words, write an outlandish scene with your characters just to unstick your mind, then keep going without deleting the words. See point number 2.
- Write with others. Many areas have numerous Write-Ins during November. Take advantage. It will be fun and you’ll find yourself spurred to write more.
- Have fun. This is supposed to be a fun exercise, so enjoy the process! Don’t get overly stressed about it.
Now, I’d better get back to that manuscript…gotta get to 50K–there’s only 8 more days left!1