Start Your Engines! NaNoWriMo is upon us!

Somewhere between the spooky sights of Halloween and the warm comfort of Thanksgiving lies an insanity that only writers understand. That insanity is National Novel Writing Month also known as NaNoWriMo. Many writers ride their October candy binge into the deep void, fingers itching against their keyboards on the eve of October 31st as they strive to complete a 50k rough draft in a single month. For thirty days houses go uncleaned, phones go unanswered, and writers survive off a steady diet of caffeine and hot pockets as they tirelessly write… and write… and write.  Madness usually overtakes you around the third week and the uncontrollable giggling starts on the fourth. I won’t get into the lengthy one-sided conversations in an empty room by week five.

I’ve done NaNoWriMo for three years now and despite the groggy nights and gnashing of teeth, I look forward to it each time. It gives me an entire month of being focused on my story and puts me in a almost zen state as the words fly out from my fingertips. If you are deadline oriented person like myself and want to get into an everyday writing habit, it’s a great start. Honestly, NaNoWriMo isn’t for everyone. It can be pretty stressful if you don’t like pressure. I know many writers who just don’t enjoy it like I do. But if you thrive under time crunches, this is a great exercise.

If this is your first time at the NaNo rodeo, here are some tips that helped me survive the November insanity:

  • Designate some writing time. An hour at least. After work is when I do mine, but if you’re an early riser, maybe an hour in the morning will do you good.
  • Find a NaNo buddy. Find two! Find eight! Get yourself a crowd of folks who you can cheer on and can cheer on you. That community will be your life’s blood while you scramble for your daily word count.
  • Word sprints are the best. My monthly writers group already have our coffee shop NaNo sprint planned. If you can’t do one in person, do a sprint online with your Facebook friends.
  • Don’t feel discouraged. Even if you don’t hit your 50k goal, even if you only wrote one sentence, you still wrote! And that is to be celebrated!

Are you a NaNoWriMo writer? Share some of your tips in the comments!

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2 thoughts on “Start Your Engines! NaNoWriMo is upon us!

  1. Nanoooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! I’ve done it 7 years- the nano scoreboard says I’m at 250,000 “nano” words over the years ;). The best suggestions I can make are have fun with it. Don’t kill yourself. I work at a full time office day job and if I can do it so can you! I try to break it up- 850 words before work then 850 after work. Weekends are a great time to word pad. Jump ahead in your story if you get stuck. And try to plan where you’ll be going on the next writing block :). Good luck all! (I’m mandreas over on NaNo and on the lovely chart to the right of this blog ;))

  2. It may not be the nicest way to get through NaNo, but a writer friend of mine and I get into huge smack talk wars on FB that always pushes me to beat her in word counts. Oddly enough NaNo brings up the competitive side in me and having someone who pushes back is super encouraging. Right Marie?

    I’ve done this for three years, and my routine had changed each year. I like having an excel spreadsheet to track my words. I make sure to keep a total for each week, because some days I can write more than others. Knowing what I have to reach each week is more helpful sometimes then each day. Though I do try for 1700 words per day. I keep Wednesdays and Sundays as make up days. Where I try to write 3000 to 4000 words. If I’m more behind, I add extra words to my daily counts.

    Having people who hold you accountable is probably the most important way to make it through this challenge. At least it is for me. If I know that a buddy is going to ask me how I’m doing, then I want to put my best foot forward. And the five in the morning when I don’t feel like writing I just have to see a smack talk response and I get the drive to get my butt in the chair and my fingers on the keyboard.

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