Happy Halloween!

Tonight, millions of kids all over the world will be dressing up in bizarre costumes and knocking on door after door to fill their pillow cases with candy. Many children on the eastern coast of the US will be staying in due to hurricane Sandy, whose winds have brought days of rain as far north as Toronto. Many adults will be dressing up and going to Halloween dinner parties.

I’m sure some of you will be taking the kids out or going to a dinner party. I, on the other hand, with probably a few thousand other writers, will be staying in frantically trying to finish the six pages of editing I have left in MG so I can start Nanowrimo at midnight without too many worries. Of course, I planned to finish this edit during the summer, but due to tendonitis and more recently getting a tooth pulled AND a bad cold in the same weekend, that didn’t happen.

The important thing is that I don’t beat myself up about it. Instead, I must forge ahead, finish that edit and dive right into Nanowrimo. Of course, I’m much less prepared for Nanowrimo than I usually am by now due to the aforementioned edits and health problems, but that’s all in the spirit of Nano anyway–besides, who’s ever really prepared for something this epic?

For those of you who will be staying up with me, counting down the hours, I have a couple things to say. The first is that staying up all night writing is probably a bad idea. You don’t want to compromise your school or your job, so do yourself a favor and limit yourself to an hour of writing.

My second note is that the few hours you have left are a good time to spend with your family or on other menial tasks which have nothing to do with Nano. Part of being prepared for Nanowrimo is to have eliminated as many other tasks from your to-do list as possible, so you’ll have more time to write during November. Spend your last few hours doing this, and you’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to find writing time.

Finally, if you’re stuck, try one of these first sentences on for size:

I often wished I’d been born someplace else, with parents who didn’t hate each other.

The weather was wet and gloomy, and had been for days.

She truly loved books: poetry, history, biography, even trashy fiction from time to time.

He had always wanted a pony.

Take any one of these first sentences and make it your own. Note that most of these sentences are longer than necessary–that’s all part of buffing your word count to ensure that you hit 50, 000 words. So don’t be ashamed of your run on sentences, and don’t try to fix your mistakes. Just plow forward and before you know it you’ll have your first 1, 667 words.

Now go out into the world, finish your pre-Nano tasks and ready yourself for the crazy novel writing month ahead!

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