This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
NaNoWriMo, as you're no doubt aware, stands for National Novel Writing Month. Writers around the world join together to support one another as they attempt to complete a fast first draft (or 50,000 words of one, at any rate) during November.
Writing 50,000 words in one month is a huge undertaking. You'll need 1666 words every single day. Alongside work and family commitments (not to mention creative problems such as getting stuck), that's a tall order.
But take heart! The first thing to remember is that there is no such thing as failing NaNoWriMo. Just trying it counts as a success. You will learn something valuable, even if that something is 'never, ever try to write 50,000 words in a month again'.
The rules of NaNoWriMo demand that you don't do any preparation on your story beforehand and, if you're fond of rules/like the idea of just diving in, feel free to adhere to this principle. If, however, you know that you're a planner or you would really like to do some creative 'discovery work' and brainstorm a few plot or character ideas in the week before, then I hereby give you permission to do so. The writing challenge is to produce a 50,000 word draft in a month, I don't think it matters how you get there …Enlist the support of your nearest and dearest. Explain the challenge and that, for a short time, you will need to cut back on your usual household tasks/social obligations/sleep/television watching.
If you can't delegate cookery to a significant other/friendly housemate, stock up on groceries and plan for lots of easy-to-prepare food. If you're so inclined, batch cook and freeze a few meals.
Be ruthless with your diary. Say no to as many things as possible.
Fit writing in wherever possible. Get into the mindset where even the tiniest amount of time can be used to scribble a few more words. Waiting for the pasta to boil for your easy-to-make dinner? Advert break? Ten minutes on the train? Write a couple of sentences. It might seem silly, but the words really will add up and help you reach your goal.
Release yourself from the burden of perfectionism. Accept the following: Your home is going to get messy, calls will go unanswered and personal grooming will become a distant memory. Remind yourself that it's just for 30 days, after which, normal service can be resumed. Plus, relinquishing your inner perfectionist is good practice for letting yourself write fast, which brings me to my most important tip …
Prepare yourself psychologically for a month of swimming through your own dross. It is hard to keep writing something when it's rubbish and you don't know where it's going and you've got the sneaking suspicion that you will end up deleting the lot. Prepare yourself right now for that inevitable battle. Remind yourself (repeatedly) that the point of a fast first draft is that it gets written. That is all.
Oh, and good luck!