Nanowrimo Survival Tips

Can you believe we’re already at day five of Nano? It’s amazing how quickly the days pass sometimes, but don’t start fretting over how many we have left. You’ve still got lots of time–including four full weekends–to write your novel. The luckiest people spent their whole weekend at the keyboard, words falling from their finger tips, and now have a nice word count cushion in case they miss a few days. Worst case scenario is that you haven’t started your novel yet, but that’s still not an awful scenario–people have started with as little as one week left and still smashed their goal.

Whether you’re one of the lucky ones or you’re at a loss for where to start–or you’re in the middle, right on your daily target–I’ve got some tips to help you get ahead and put yourself in a nice position at the start of week one.

1. Get competitive. Whether you’re ahead or drowning, getting competitive is a good way to get–and stay–on top of your word count. Find someone whose word count is close to yours and send them a Nanomail challenging them to some friendly competition: who will reach 50, 000 words first? Who can get more words by the end of the month? Competition isn’t the only reason why I have such high word counts, but believe you me, it helps.

2. Get silly. Stuck? Hop on over to the Dares thread on the Nanowrimo forums. There you’ll be challenged to incorporate all kinds of things in your novel, from witty one liners to odd characters to entire subplots. Some dares may even inspire a WHOLE NOVEL, such as my dare to write “The novel to end the world”, in which someone’s Nanowrimo novel brings about the apocalypse.

3. Get ahead. The best favor you can do yourself is to get ahead. You can do this a couple ways. If your goal for the month is just the basic 50, 000, you can write 2,000 words a day instead of 1,667. If you write that much every day successfully, you’ll have 60, 000 words. If not, you should still hit 50K. The numbers can be adjusted to suit your goal. Of course, the other way is to dedicate a day–say this Saturday–completely to writing so you can get an extra few thousand words. This creates a buffer for when you’re feeling uninspired.

This week is all about getting into the flow of fast paced novel writing. Train yourself to stay focused and get ahead, because next week’s probably going to be rough. Keep your eyes on the prize and your mind on your novel–to ease into the flow of writing, try thinking through plot points on your way home. And if you’re feeling uninspired, take a look through the forums–you’re certainly not alone, and you can also adopt plots there and discover exercises that will get you right back to work.

But most importantly–have fun! And if you’re not having fun, find a new novel to write.

2 thoughts on “Nanowrimo Survival Tips

  • Taking part in yet another NanoWriMo a second time around I know I appreciate any tidbits, helpful hints, and words of encouragement that can help us make it through along the way. And sometimes having fun with this contest can get blurred or lost along the way. Thanks for the “fun” reminder!

    • Michelle,

      I’m glad you’re enjoying these posts and I hope your word count is soaring! Who knows, maybe in year three you’ll be the one giving out advice to newbies.

      Thanks for stopping by,

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