It's November and we're halfway through NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Half the writers I know go scarce every November and are hunched over their keyboards pounding out roughly 1,667 words each day to get to 50,000 by November 30.
To the uninitiated, this might sound like mission impossible, but to those who relish a challenge, NaNo is the opportunity to unleash your muse, forget about editing and write your story down in its raw form.
If you're still at it, here are some tips to keep you moving toward that goal of 50,000 words or whatever goal you've set yourself this month.
1. If you don't outline but need ideas, try to work out plot lines in your mind each day. Forget the nitty-gritty details and focus on the highpoints for the next chapter. It will prevent the agony of having your mind running in circles when you should be writing.
2. Stay connected to your cheering squad — whether it is a group of people also doing NaNo, or friends who will encourage you to pick up the pace when you stall. Just knowing there’s someone slogging along and/or cheering will help you stick it out.
3. Pace yourself – at 1667 words per day, you’ll hit the 50k mark on November 30. Write more each day if you can. You don’t want to be caught flat-footed if you have an emergency and your writing time is cut in half. Some people do word sprints — they are fun and keep you motivated.
4. Stock up on food that energizes you — and will keep you going when you’re tempted to doze on the keyboard. You will have some late nights while you try to catch up on, or surpass your daily targets, but don’t ingest anything that will keep you awake for days, give you palpitations, or make you hyperactive. You need to rest to write your best.
5. Never forget it’s all in good fun. If you start feeling tense and stressed, remind yourself there’s no prize other than personal satisfaction and the tag that tells the world you ‘won’ NaNo.