Nanowrimo’s Hidden Agenda and Some Helpful Tips

82c13f044c171997aa27f337b9bad369The point of Nanowrimo (hereby forevermore known as simply “nano” since writing that entire thing out is ridiculous,) is to learn to write every day.

That’s it.

No fundraisers.

No secret handshakes in the dark alleyway behind the adult bookstore.

And it’s not like you have to write a large amount of word every day either.

I know writing 50,000 words throughout the entire month of November seems next to impossible, but if you break it down mathematically, it’s not so bad at all.

It’s 1,667 words a day. Or 69.4 words an hour. To put that in perspective, this post up to this word HERE is 102 words and it took me 4 minutes to write. Granted, I type faster than most people and I’m thinking about what I’m going to say next, which are things that may help me come nano time. But everyone writes different.

The key things to know or remember about this nano writing schedule is basically this:

  • First drafts always suck. They are only written to get the crap out of your head and onto the page so you can get to the editing stages of having it make sense later.
  • Turn off your internal editor while writing a first draft. Trust me on this one, no one but yourself cares if you spelled “THE” TEH a few times. Fix it later. For now, just get those words out of your head and onto the page.
  • If you’re a pantser (one who likes to write without an outline,) go wherever the characters tell you to go and keep writing until the story tells you it’s over. You can nuke characters, change names, re-write endings/beginnings, add scenes, delete scenes, and all that goodness later.
  • If you’re an outliner (one who sticks to a basic formula of storytelling,) Don’t get discouraged if your characters veer off into unwarranted territory. It happens. If the new area is better than the outline, change the outline. If the new area sucks – make a new page, and keep writing.
  • NEVER DELETE ANYTHING. Always ALWAYS use strikethrough which looks something like this to let your future self know you weren’t happy with it while writing, but maybe with a little less alcohol in your system it wasn’t too bad of an idea.
  • Frustration happens. Some days the words flow like chilled apple cider. Enjoy those days. Embrace those days. Write as much as your eyelids and swollen finger joints will allow. Other days, writing 250 words feel like maybe the root canal would have been a better idea even without the novocaine. 250 words is better than nothing. Take it. Enjoy it. Go to bed and write more tomorrow.
  • Set a goal. If you want 1667 to be your daily word count goal, then do it. If you want to write for 60 minutes, do that. If you have a specific album that you listen to while writing, listen to the entirety of the album while writing. But set realistic goals and enjoy the fact that you can put them aside for when real-life happens.
  • You will notice that once you start writing, specifically this occurs (for me anyway) with writing fiction where I will get random ideas from out of no where. I’ll write a scene involving a space station and revolting workers striking against the alien foreman trying to work the humans to death and *BAM* idea in my head about a Duck Pond that’s secretly a listening pool for the NSA to spy on old Nazi war criminals and learn about their plans for the second rising of RoboHitler. Get a program like Evernote, something that sync’s notes between all your devices, and jot down the idea there. That way, when you’re done with the idea for nano, you can start on the not-so-fascinating RoboHitler story.
  • Sleep, eat, poo, pee, walk, breathe, and try to get some sunlight if you’re not in an underground bunker. It all helps.
  • The biggest one for me: hide the word count. Write the story YOU want to write and stop looking at that damn word count.

And if there’s anything that helps YOU, please leave a comment below. I rarely edit this stuff, so have fun.


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