The NaNoWriMo goal is 55,000 words…In one month.
November is now less than a month away. Without further adieu, I am offering my six point survival guide to the month of madness that is NaNoWriMo.
As I write this blog on the morning of October 5th there is still ample time to prepare. Even if you don’t manage to get your whole story plotted and developed in advance, get something in place.
Answer a character question — who are they?
A few lines that inspire.
Plot points from anywhere in the story.
Any one of these elements will help sustain your efforts. Remember: although the NaNoWriMo goal is to write a 55,000 word novel in a month, that does not mean you have to start cold on November 1st.
Bring something to the table.
Go Where The Story Takes You:
This stands as good writing advice, whether trying to achieve the NaNoWriMo goal or not. Go wherever the story takes you.
Right now I am knee deep on a fiction project, under the working title, “The Incident At Tallow Creek”. This story started out as a short for a class I took in September. My sense of this story began following one direction, but as I started to write it (hat tip to colleague & teacher Jennifer Springsteen) the story launched into something deeper and much different.
Make a mess. If your story starts out in your head going one way and the muse takes you another, follow the muse. Channeling that energy is more critical to your success than fulfilling obligations.
Be Good To Yourself:
Whatever this means to you, do it. Martyrs make bad writers. If you’re unhappy at the desk each day, you’ll fall behind and you’ll lose focus.
I buy a record album each week. I indulge in a drink at the end of the day. Find that thing and stick to it.
Find Support In & Out Of Your Writing Community:
I have become a big proponent recently of talking about your creative work. Writers give each other fuel. Perhaps it is the magic of the hive mind, I don’t know.
Use the native supports. Share what you’re doing with other writers.
And also, I advise sharing with non-writers. Don’t go so deep into that project that you forget the wife and husband and boss who help keep the roof over your head.
Want a great tip for meeting the NaNoWriMo goal?
Here is one of my secrets. Tell a stranger. Sit down on the bus or at the bar and let a little of your creative secret go. There is a catharsis and power in expanding your circle.
Save Expectations For The End:
Where is this going? Sooner or later, that question will require an answer and it will come from you. Purpose and direction come from your intent.
Answer that question later though. Like December 1st. Or maybe the 2nd. Give yourself that weekend.