Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Nanowrimo: Tips to slay 50k.

After many attempts at Nanowrimo I've figured out some things that work and don't work at getting you to that mythical 50k. So here's my ten tips for reaching that 50k mark. Here's hoping I can follow my own tips again for this camp and get myself that winner bar again!

1. Plan. Plan. Plan... I can't say it enough. PLANNNNNN!!!! (That was a shout out across the lands.) Even if you're a pantser, you need to plan something. At least get an idea of a genre you want to write in. Heck, you could even make a list of girl names and boy names so when it's time to name your characters you can just pick something out. Every moment from midnight of the 31st is time wasted if you're not writing. You're setting yourself back from the beginning.

2. When it comes to the writing process everyone says don't edit. I would like to scream a nice loud screw that! to the very idea. Delete away! Just a word of caution, know what to delete and what to push through. There's a very big difference between something that is poorly written/worded and having writer's block. The only reason I got past the 50,000 word count was by going back and editing a chapter after I finished it. (And I hate editing, so it was really just quick glances over and adding and removing things to make it a little better).

3. Don't try to be a certain type of writer. What I mean by that is you know yourself and you know how you work. I made the mistake of following along with some people on the forum who like to drink and then sit down and write. A bottle of wine later and all that did was cost me a day as I drank way too much trying to think of what to write next. I learned that I am not the type of writer to sit and drink, and I'm not the type of writer to sit with a massive bag of mini chocolate bars and a mug the size of my head full of coffee and write. I'm the type of writer who sits down after dinner, stick some headphones in and crank out my word count.

4. Write more than required for a couple of days. If you're on a roll and you're putting out material that you're happy with then don't stop. Get as far ahead as you can because come the middle of the month I can guarantee you you'll have hit at least one day where something came up and you weren't able to write or you didn't get much in. Write more when you can and you won't be as far behind when you miss a day. This saved me many times.

5. 2500 is a reachable word count for a day. Remember this when you reach closer to the end of the month. You may fall behind, I've fallen behind, I feel like I'm behind already and we haven't even started. Numbers like 2500 and 3000 are challenging for some, but they are attainable, don't be discouraged by that number. This is doable.

6. In the event you fall behind more than a day's worth of writing. You can still win, I did this last time, the only time I've won Nanowrimo. Looking at the number you're set back is daunting. If you go on the nanowrimo website, there's graph that shows you a line that you're supposed to reach everyday. If you're say, three days behind don't immediately look at that three day total, look at the first day you missed. This way you stay a steady pace behind and if you get on a roll, you can work into the next day's worth and soon you'll find yourself caught up.

This was my chart from this past November:

As you can clearly see, I fell behind for a few days but in the end I kept plugging away, trying to reach the next 1667 words. At the end I had to do a 3000 word push but it's way better than if I had quit way back at the 17th when I had started falling behind.

8. Participate in the forums. Participate a lot. Just wrote a couple hundred? Take a break, visit the forums. Can't think of where to make your story go? Visit the forums. There's plenty of people who can help you iron out your troubles. There's a place for people who want to write more than 50,000, less than 50,000, a place to talk about how much the 20,000 range seems to suck. If you're stuck, you can find the solution in the forums. Plus, the interactions with people also doing this crazy thing will keep you coming back. Bonus of seeing those bars fill up under people's names drives you to do better.

9. Do word sprints (there's a thread for that). You can follow Nanowordsprints on twitter for all kinds of sprints and prompts. You can also go to the forums and find all kinds of people running sprints all of the time. Try to beat them, or try to beat your own personal best. This is a great way to pump out a couple hundred words. Crawls are another great option, a combination of sprints and challenges made specifically to drive your word count up, they can be found in the forums.

10. Have fun, be happy, don't make yourself miserable. Nothing good comes from miserable. Have fun and enjoy writing!

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