With Nanowrimo right around the corner there’s tons of people prepped, or frantically prepping to finish outlining their stories so they can sit and write out 50,000 words in one month. Others still are just mentally preparing themselves with no real outline, just an idea of what story they’re going to write.
Neither approach is wrong and both come out of November with some surprising results. But that’s not what I’m here to talk about today. I’m here to talk about surviving Nanowrimo with her mentality still, some what, in take with a few reminders.
1st – it’s just a first draft.
No matter how much planning you put into your outline or how well your character sheets filled out. The first draft is still going to be a huge pile of crap. No one expects you to get it right the first time and you shouldn’t expect this of yourself either. Because it’s never going to happen.
Unless you’ve managed to create a magic potion that makes everything you right sunshine and daisies on the first try you should really give up this pipe dream.(And if you have you need to mass market that shit because you’d be a millionaire.)
Seriously, your first draft is just that, a draft. It’s going to be filled with characters names randomly changing, scenes that are written like your MC’s just standing in a void and plot holes the size of Niagra Falls. There maybe some structure there. A line or two that you absolutely love and believe needs to rewarded some kind of prize, but that’s about it.
And that’s okay. If you manage to cross over that 50k word count this month, give yourself a pat on the back, take a deep breath, and recall that sense of pride you felt when you wrote ‘the end’ when you go back to reread this slush pile that you call a novel.
2nd – Writing doesn’t always happen from point A to B
When you hit that first block, and you’re going to hit it, or your characters decide to hijack the car and go down some country back roads, don’t fight them. Sometimes it’s best to just let them go on their little tangent.
If you’re finding yourself getting stuck in your novel and you find plotting out the next move isn’t working, try working on something else. It can be related to your novel in that it could a short story on a characters past, or it could be a what if scenario for something that could happen given the stories current setup.
It doesn’t have to be used in the actual novel and usually (at least for me) these little jaunts into the wild eventually get me back on course and back to the main story and I usually discover something new about the characters or the world I’m writing. Remember in the first point I mentioned it was a huge slush pile, well these side bits can just be added in there on top.
3rd – Take a self-care day.
I realize that the whole point of Nanowrimo is write as quickly and as much as possible, but that doesn’t mean you have to wear yourself down until there’s nothing left.
You can’t continue to feed your creativity if your fridge is empty. And I’m not saying you have to take a whole day. I’m just saying take an evening to spend time with family and friends or a couple of hours to watch a movie, read a book, or play video games.
Something that will allow the creative part of your brain to shut off and relax for a bit. You can get back to work the next day and still manage to win Nanowrimo.
4th – Reach out to the community
One of the biggest reasons I am still creating stories and following my dream of being published is because of all the amazing people that have I met on here, twitter, and Instagram.
There are so many people from all walks of life in this community that’s it hard not to make friends and share our experiences with one another. And the best part is is that so many of them are participating in Nanowrimo as well. They’re sharing your struggles this month as well, so head on over to the forums, or follow writers on twitter and youtube with the #nanowrimo2018 and connect with other writers.
Honestly, the friendships you make in this group of people are going to be your biggest wins this month.
5th – It’s okay if you don’t win Nanowrimo
Obviously, I’m not trying to be a debbie downer here. It’s just a fact. Some of us don’t actually hit that 50k word count. And that’s okay. Not all of us are capable of pounding out that many words in a month. Hell, I have a hard time sitting down to write 500 words some days.
All of our processes are different. Some people can type up 5000 a day, others can barely manage 250. It’s not the quantity of work that you put out there that counts. What counts is that you showed up every day, you gave your best every day and rather you managed to write 50 words or 1500 words, you can still call yourself a writer and know that you’ve managed to accomplish something for the day.
Remember not everyone can write a novel in a month. Tolkien took 16yrs to write Lord of the Rings Trilogy, To Kill a Mocking Bird took Harper Lee 2.5 years, Twilight took 3 months.
So don’t beat yourself up if you don’t reach that 50k in one month. Even if you don’t win Nanowrimo, you only lose if you stop writing. Keep writing your story, even after November is said and done with because I promise people are going to want to read it one day.
Good luck to everyone participating in Nanowrimo!