I’m tackling NaNoWriMo again like I do every year. Winner or no, 50k or no, I find that NaNo helps with several things, from productivity to rising from a slump. These past couple years, I don’t think I’ve “won” Nano, but it’s such a fun time it’s impossible to never join in.
This year, I’ll be attempting to write at least 50k on my new novel, Eat Me, Drink Me. It’s going to be YA Dark Fantasy, because it’s what I love to write, and goddamn Bloodborne, of all things, inspired this one. Note that I say “of all things” because, if you’ve known me for a while, you also know I thought I wouldn’t like Fromsoftware games because they didn’t present a story in the traditional sense. Hell, there’s not much story going on in Bloodborne, but the atmosphere, the soundtrack, the gameplay… they’re all so terrific, by the time I realized what was happening, I was planning a Lovecraftian YA Fantasy. It wouldn’t die, so instead of Cat Dragons (a MG Fantasy I was working on), or yet another re-write of Sightless (my YA Contemp Fantasy that really won’t die), I decided to go for this one.
So yeah, Bloodborne is amazing, you should play it if you can, etc. But I digress.
If you’re thinking about doing NaNo, but the 50k-in-a-month scare you, well, I HAVE YOU COVERED. With tips that these, it’ll be amazing if you don’t have 50k by the end of November.
My Crazy NaNo Tips
(or how I get 50k+ in a month when I try)
- It helps if you plot beforehand, even if you never intend to follow said plotline. But if you’re a pantser, well, just work your panster magic!
- Whenever you have free time, be it one minute or one hour, write. It doesn’t have to be spectacular. It just has to be there.
- If you’re a student (I was, during my GLORIOUS Nano winner years) and already know you’re going to sleep through class anyway: write. This is actually terrible advice on an academic basis, but I probably wrote most of my Nano words during Complex Analysis and Systems Modelling classes.
- Carry a tiny notebook and pen/pencil at all times. Whip it out during bus stops, commutes, coffee breaks, anything! Every word counts!
- If all else fails, write on your cell phone. I have around 2000 words of A Trace of Madness on small notes in mine.
- Take writing material to places you normally wouldn’t. Like the bathroom. For real, you’d be surprised at what magic can happen while your body is, well… working its digestive system magic.
- Drink copious amount of coffee/energy drink of choice. In the Lisbon NaNo meets, I’m known for being the chick who drinks 3 giant cups in an hour and a half. If you start getting jittery, worry not! That just means your blood’s become half-caffeine, and we all know that’s what writers run on anyway.
- See if you have a NaNo group nearby, and go to the meets! I was sooooo scared the first time I decided to attend the one in Lisbon, but it turned out to be incredibly fun! It was also where I met some of my great friends!
- If you’re rolling around in bed and can’t sleep, get up and write. You were going to waste that time to insomnia anyway.
- This might just be me, but walking helps a lot with idea flow/plot blocks. If you’re feeling stuck, go for a walk with your soundtrack of choice!
- Find and join word sprint groups (or do it by yourself, if you can – I can’t!) If you’re competitive like I am, these will help you get words down without worrying about if it’s actually crap.
- Don’t go crazy and start editing. This is super hard for me, because I like editing as I go. However, during NaNo, it’s a no-no. A BIG ONE.
- If you’re stuck on a scene, it’s fine to skip ahead. Likewise, if you really want to write that magic cookie of a scene that you’ve been imagining, skip ahead and do it. DO IT!
- If you cat/dog/dragon starts throwing a tantrum because you’re ignoring them over writing, be sure to indulge them before they climb onto your laptop and erase your lifeblood from the screen.
- Alternatively, let them climb onto the screen and sneak in some ninja “aaaaaaaaahhhh” and “jjjjjjjjjjjhjhjjjjj” words for you. That’s their way of showing pity for their human.
And that’s it! Be sure to add me to your NaNo buddy list and maybe we can sprint together!