NaNoWriMo or No?

What are your best tips for approaching NaNoWriMo?

I love short stories

I love writing them, reading them, dissecting them.

…but for the past 10 years or so I’ve been tempted by National Novel Writers’ Month: Write a novel in a month.

I’m put off by the time commitment – with two small, demanding kids, a part-time job and a husband i actually like to spend time with – I can’t imagine making time.

But now I have writing friends from Story A Day who are urging me to try it for reals this year. And, for the first time, I don’t have a baby, visitors or crisis hanging over me.

So what are your best strategies for approaching NaNo, all you veterans and pushers?

What do you do before November, during November, when things are going well, when things are going badly? How do you pace your novel? What are the absolute must-do tactics for you? What are the traps and time-sinks?

Please comment below, or write your answer on your own blog and leave a link here. Remember: complete newbie here. Tell me anything, even things you’d forgotten you once didn’t know

4 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo or No?”

  1. Get as many ideas before you start as you can. You’re allowed to plan and plot and it’s easier if you do.

    Write every day before you surf the net or whatever you do for fun. Write 2000 words. Don’t stop even when it’s rubbish.

    Plan the next day’s writing while you’re out walking or cooking dinner.

    Use a spreadsheet to keep track of your word count. (I have one I can email you if you like.)

    Go to meetups. They’re fun!

    Have fun!

    1. Such great tips.

      “Don’t stop even when it’s rubbish” — this bit worries me, but I know that’s kind of the point. What do you do the next day, when you’ve left yourself with rubbish or veered into a dark alley? Do you just start the day with “Then Bobby stepped out of the shower and everything between the asterisks was a bad dream” ?

      Actually that might amuse my simple mind enough to keep me writing, now that I think of it…

  2. I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo for two years now. Like Story A Day, you descover both personal strengths and weaknesses about you and your writing.

    For instance, I found out I’m an outliner. I tried writing by the seat of my pants last year sans outline and the whole experience was miserable.

    I’ve also learned to socialize with other NaNo participants in my region. I would never had survived NaNo’09 if I didn’t go out to the planned write-ins. This is where I met Cid and other great writer friends that pushed me and helped me, let me cry on their shoulders, and listened to me whine and wail about my uncooperating characters.

    Even if you don’t reach your goal, I still think there’s opportunity in the experience. You can take away lessens that you’ve learned from either success or failure.

  3. “You can’t take away lessons that you’ve learned from either success or failure.”

    Ooo, that’s good.

    It’s true, I learned so much more from writing every day in May than I do writing occasionally. Learn by doing, eh? That sounds right…

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