Are you ready for NaNoWriMo? Most of us can prepare for NaNoWriMo just fine. But can we sustain the crazy pace of writing so many words every day? And even if we do, can that be a manuscript that we will keep and ultimately send off to a publisher?
Most writers feel absolutely compelled to take part in NaNoWriMo. And that is fine, if you have done all the planning for the book ahead of time so that you have an outline of every chapter, and if you don’t stress over small things such as completing word counts. But for most of us, our best intentions get lost in the distraction of starting NaNo. So, her is what I have done for 5 years now.
In November I usually start a new novel that I have planned the month before and I plan to write as much of it as possible during November. I usually plan for no more than 1,000 words a day. If I do more…bonus! If I don’t, that’s okay. What I don’t get completed in November, I complete in the first few weeks of December. But by Christmas, that is indeed a gift that I give to myself—a first draft of a novel!
So, here are a few things that I have learned over the past seven years to make your NaNo the most successful. I have been participating in NaNoWriMo for over ten years. But I really only started learning from my mistakes in the pat seven years.
• Determine what YOUR goals are for NaNo. Make sure that this is something that YOU want to do and not something you think you should do because all your writer friends are participating in NaNo.
• Plan your book ahead of time so that you could sit down and merely write in November and December.
• Enjoy the process—rekindle what you LOVE about writing and then plug into that energy.
• Play some music while you write or light a candle. Make your writing time and space as appealing and wonderful as possible. This will help you want to come back to write the next day.
• Listen to your inner voice—it is always giving your little tips here and there. Don’t mask it in busyness.
• At the end of every week, regroup and evaluate how you are doing. This will help you to keep what’s most important at the forefront.
• Work on at least one other project during the month. I usually try to work on another personal fulfillment project and that helps me to reconnect to the excitement and creativity that you need to do your best writing.
By taking these steps, you will be connecting to that center within yourself that propelled you to start writing in the first place—your writer’s soul. Don’t ever forget it otherwise you will get lost in distractions and sooner or later you won’t be able to acknowledge the real reason why you started writing in the first place.
Irene S. Roth