- Own your goal and tell those around you what it is and why its important and ask for their support on the journey.
- The more often you write 1667 words in a day, the easier it gets. When I compare my first attempt at NaNo to 2015, it seems to have become easier to reach the magic number.
- Allow yourself to write without editing. The first draft is telling the story to yourself, subsequent drafts are the ones that will tell it to the editor and readers.
- Know how long it takes you to write 1667 words before you start and book the time off at the start of the month in your diary. Can't get your words one day, then book a double on the weekend.
- Don't let others sabotage your plans. This is hard. So far this month I've had unexpected visitors, unexpected work commitments, volunteer requests and each time I've had to assess how this will affect my ability to complete my novel. Most times I said yes, sometimes I said no.
- Be flexible. One night, after arriving home from work almost two hours late I served my husband corn chips for dinner. No ground beef, no salsa, no melted cheese. A bag of corn chips. And the world did not end...
- If you fall "Below the line" - the NaNo site graphs your progress - don't panic. All is not lost. Mine is below and you'll see I was above the line on 3 days, on the line on 6 days, and below the line on 20 out of 30 days this year. Just keep writing and try to stay the same distance below the line as the minimum. Challenge yourself to an extra fifteen minutes (as the minimum) every day, to catch up.
- Use technology to your advantage. I have an iPad with keyboard and I did about 5000 words in ten minute sessions over coffee or while waiting for appointments. It all adds up.
- Don't research unless its essential. The spaceship's ability to sustain life after a bomb blast can be researched after the event. Invent some sort of failsafe technology (even if it doesn't make sense) and keep writing.
- Enjoy your time with these characters and this world you are building. NaNoWriMo gives you permission to immerse yourself. Go on. Jump in and have fun.
It's always a little bit quiet round here during National Novel Writing Month. Finally, late last night I managed to finish the 50K words and was designated a winner. I didn't participate last year, so this year I wasn't sure how things would go. Here's my wrap up of ten things that make for a better experience when you attempt NaNoWriMo:
Fiona Greene Author
"A journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step."