I've participated in NaNoWriMo since 2003 but only completed the writing goal twice. I love doing the program because it gives me a shove into writing. I have a goal to work for and am forced to jump feet first into the project. There isn't any thinking about what type of job my character has, who her best friend is, blah blah. I am forced to make a decision quick and write. This works for me.
Here are some things I've figured out on my years doing NaNoWriMo:
- I don't have to stop writing at my daily goal. If I hit my writing zone I keep going because some day I'm not going to have enough time to write or won't feel like it. Writing ahead will relieve the stress from the last part of the month.
- Have kids that like to write? Two years in a row I didn't feel like writing at all. My daughter wanted to do the Nano Jr. program. We did it together and she inspired me to push through my blocks.
- Don't start your writing ahead of time, but do plan your novel as much as possible! Last year I was working on a Christmas story. I needed ideas for the 12 days of Christmas which the novel was centered around. I did a brainstorming session with my author friend, so this was planned out ahead of time.
- Don't get bogged down by research. Do enough to move your story along but remember that you can fill in any gaps later.
- Give yourself permission to write some less than perfect pages and try not to edit as you go. You can edit and revise later.
- Try to surround yourself with people who support your goals. NaNoWriMo has excellent writing groups to use to connect to other Nano-authors. Connect, email, ask questions, brainstorm, and encourage. We are in this together.
My daughter has done the junior program for a few years, so I asked her for some tips. She said, "Just write, write, and write some more. Also, don't have a life and you'll eventually get there!"
Just for some added inspiration: Two of my Nano-novels have been published. See? It does pay off!
I don't know what I'm going to write this year. I'm stuck between writing the next book in my Desert Secret Series or something not connected to the series.
So, do you have any tips? Questions? Talk to me!