With NaNoWriMo 2016 right around the corner I thought I would share some of my tips. I took part in NaNo last year and managed to write 50,092 wordsso whilst I am no expert, I do have some tips you might find helpful.
If you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, it is National Novel Writing Month and you can find a link to the website here! It’s an annual event where every year writers from around the world try to write 50,000 words in the month of November – around 1,667 words a day.
I am so excited about the book I am planning to write this year! I wrote around 13,000 words of it in July and I can’t wait to jump back into the world. Let me know what you are writing this November!
1. Plan… Maybe…
I am not going to sit here and tell you to plan out your whole novel because honestly I never do that. Although I have a vague direction of where my story is going and a rough ending, I like to let the plot come to me as I write. So rather than saying you should plot the whole story, I would suggest plotting some key scenes that you want to write. That way you know where your characters are going.
I start with a rough book plan and then try to plan the beginning more thoroughly, so I will have maybe the first five chapters roughly planned before I start NaNoWriMo. By roughly planned I mean jotting down the key scenes for each chapter. If you are a big planner then this wont be helpful, but I would say don’t waste your time worrying about having a detailed plan.
2. World-Build, World-Build, World-Build!
Whilst I don’t bother with an in-depth plan, I like to go really into depth with world-building before I start writing. I like to know everything I can about the landscape, the culture, the key annual events such as festivals, what grows in the area, what the climate is like. As I plan and discover the world it helps give me an idea of where I want the story to go, so I suggest you take some time to world-build before you start. This means you don’t have to stop and research as much whilst you write.
If you do start writing and realise there are things you haven’t yet researched, such as land formations etc, I say keep writing! As long as the majority of the plot is there it’s fine to simply miss out descriptions. This will help you can maintain a good writing pace and reach your target. I know that when I went back to edit my writing last year I found lots of little bits where I had simply put (castle description) or (landscape) so that I would remember later on.
3. Write Everywhere!
Throwing out the idea that I needed to be at home to write was one of the main things that helped me with NaNoWriMo last year. As you are writing without editing for NaNoWriMo, and able to miss things out, I did a lot of my writing on my phone and in the back of notebooks whenever I had a break in uni. Then when I got home I typed up whatever I had written that day and added to it as I went.
I think this is a good idea as it gives you a lot more time to write each day.You will be surprised at how much you manage to get written in the short gaps in your busy schedule. It also meant that I wasn’t bored at all last November as I was constantly writing or thinking about writing.
4. Find Your Motivation
Writing daily requires a lot of motivation, so it is a good idea to find things that motivate you before you start writing. I boost my motivation by creating boards and browsing through my Pinterest, and also by creating playlists on Spotify. I find that the combination of images and music really helps me get back into my writing after a break.
Another thing that really motivates me is reading about authors and their writing process, and watching YouTube videos (mainly interviews with my favourite author Sarah J Maas).I have a section on this blog called Writer Interviews where I have interviewed lots of writers about their own writing and motivation. I also have a page called For Writers where you can find some of my favourite interviews and blogs.
I wrote a post a few months ago about motivation which you might like to read to learn a little more about what motivates me – My First Draft & Writing Motivation!
5. Writing Sprints
One of the best things to do, and the most fun, is writing sprints. This is when you set yourself a certain amount of time, say 20 minutes, then see how much you can get written in that time. It is good if you have writing friends to sprint with, but if not it’s just as fun to do by yourself or with strangers if you spot a sprint session on Twitter. This year I plan to do writing sprints and keep track of how many words I write each time, it’ll be interesting to see if my writing speed increases over the month.
6. Don’t Stress!
I think the most important thing to remember is nothing bad will happen if you don’t manage to reach the 50k target by the end of November. You’ll still have written more of your book, you’ll still have connected with other writers and you can still be proud of yourself! Letting yourself get overwhelmed thinking about the deadline will only slow you down, just take it day by day and focus on your daily word-counts. If you need to take a day off, take a day off, take two! NaNoWriMo is supposed to be fun and a chance for you to push yourself, as long as you do those two things who cares how many words you end up with!
I hope this post helped some of you taking part in NaNoWriMo 2016, or at least helped you feel a little more motivated! If you want you can add me on NaNoWriMo (and see if I am keeping up with the targets or not), my username is WeeReader!