People who know me have heard me bang on about NaNoWriMo in years gone by…well, it’s that time of year…again!
For those of you not familiar, NaNoWriMo (www.nanowrimo.org) is national book writing month and the aim? To write a 50,000 word novel from scratch starting November 1.
To achieve said 50,000 words, you really do need to drop everything else – the occasional shower and bathroom break is acceptable, as is stopping every so often for food (and to watch Homeland and The Newsroom but that’s it!) (And a dirty martini)
1667 words a day?
Yes! November becomes an all consuming word count – 1667 words per day, 70 words per hour, 24 hours a day, for 30 days.
This year, in preparation, I have a title – Lily’s Little Flower Shoppe – Woo Hoo!
I am assuming the story is about a woman, Lily, who owns a flower shop and all that owning/working in a flower shop entails:
* Preparing bouquets for loved ones, dead ones and far away ones…
* Is there romance?
* Is the Lilster running away from someone?
* Why a flower shop?
* Who the f^*k knows?
But come November first, I’ll become consumed by ‘what ifs’… obsessing about my new characters. Who are these people? Does Lily, in fact, have any friends? Enemies? Frenemies?
I have no idea!
And I’m not kidding myself that I’ll wake up every November morning loving the fact that I have a word count to achieve and making myself sit at the computer until it’s done, but I’ll give it my best shot.
Why NaNo works for me…
Because I’m forced to write. I’m not disciplined like other writerly friends who plan their stories on white boards and take copious character and plot notes. These geniuses write their entire novel in their head before they’ve committed one word to their MacBook Pro. I admire these people, but I’m not one of them.
I have no idea how Lily’s story will end but I’m looking forward to it unfolding.
Tips for a successful NaNoWriMo?
1. It’s okay to be totally bewildered and have no idea what you are writing about. That’s me, most of the time.
2. You don’t need to cast aside huge blocks of time to write. I used to think I needed at least two un interrupted hours to write so that my scenes would flow. I had to get over myself very quickly. In the past, NaNoWriMo has forced me to write whenever I got the opportunity. Fifteen minutes before breakfast, half an hour in between other jobs or idling in the car line waiting to pick the kids up from school. Now days, I jot down notes whenever I get a few spare moments. It’s okay to write in short bursts!
3. Tell family and friends you’re doing NaNoWriMo. If nothing else, you’ll be shamed into producing a few thousand words, lest you look like a complete failure. During the lean writing times when you’re staring out the window, fantasising about your summer holidays, pride and humiliation will keep you going.
4. NaNoWriMo is all about the words. Get them down and keep moving forward. Throw fear and self-doubt aside and keep slogging away towards your end goal, i.e. the beginning of a brand new manuscript!
5. You WILL get frustrated. And cranky…and hate everyone. Or is that just me? No! You’ll want to run away from your real life to focus on NaNo. Here’s the thing: Unless you’re…well let’s face it…not you…you won’t be able to. Deal with it. Write when you can, even if it’s at 2am. Not that I recommend that. The words I’ve written at 2 am? Not a hope in Hades that I can decipher them the next day .
6. Restrain yourself from re-reading, editing and deleting – do that in December when you’re avoiding family togethers where babies, toddlers, teenagers and short-tempered aunts are present. (Ditto for office parties with dubious workmates.)
7. Write through the highs and lows – the times when your head is exploding with new ideas and the times when you’ve got absolutely nothing to work with.
8. Don’t give up! If writing is your passion, stick with it. Even if you only write 20,000 words in November, it’s 20,000 more than you had at the start of the month.
DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP BUT GIVE IT YOUR BEST SHOT!
Good luck. xx