NaNoWriMo starts in 11 days! What?! I would be pumped right now and plotting like crazy for my third year, but I’m not participating. I’m going to be kicking out edits on the novel I wrote last November, Hero Up and I’m also busy working on other writing projects. But hey, if you’re a newbie participant or are looking for some tips this November, here are 11 things I learned from my first NaNoWriMo:
Plotting Helps A Lot
During Preptober, the month before NaNo, you’re, well, supposed to prep whether that means plotting or getting food together while you hunker down in November.
My first NaNo was in 2015 and I found out about this competition while searching for writing contests. But I found out mid-October. I decided to join and started plotting...sorta. I didn't spend as much time as I needed to on it.
Mid-way through November and I had no idea where to go in my story. I didn't plot this far out. It felt like I was swimming in the middle of the ocean no land in sight!
The next year, I plotted hardcore. I wrote down all my main characters’ profiles, I plotted my story on a number-line, trees were yelling at me for how many post-it notes I used. It was great.
That year it felt like I was on a boat sailing through November. I knew the direction I was going with my story and even though there were some times when writer’s block came up, I knew what the major points were in my story and I reached them with more ease than before.
I highly recommend plotting before November and if you are a pantser and not a plotter, at least get the major points and characters in your story plotted. Trust me, it relieves a lot of stress during one of the most stress-inducing competitions.
Writing Is Easier With Support
Although tempting, you shouldn't be a writing hermit during November.
“But there's not enough time for socializing!”
True...yet false. I mean, you can't write 24/7. Take some time to talk to friends and family. And if you have writing friends who are participating in NaNo, then you can stress and talk about it together!
Honestly though, talking to people is also a good way to get ideas for your story if you're stuck. I had plenty of good ideas after asking my family and talking about Farryn with them my first NaNo. A support group that encourages you during November is really nice.
It was November 1, 2015. I woke up excited. I didn't write till it was night. What?!?
Yeah. I had my leather notebook prepped and ready, Scrivener was up on my computer, I had my story idea (sorta) plotted and I didn't start till night because I procrastinated and thought, “writing 2k words won't be hard.” Pfft. What a joke. It took me hours to get to my goal and by then it was midnight and my eyes were burning and I regretted my decision to wait.
Don't be like 2015 me. Write when you can. Don't wait.
Distractions are Evil
They truly, truly are. A distraction is like a Venus flytrap. We are like a little fly. “Oh, lemme check my social media. I haven't posted in a while. Is that a new video?” Snap! The distraction trap catches you and by the time you can escape the prison it's been three hours of perfectly wasted writing time. *cries because it's true*
So maybe instead you could let all those YouTube videos build up and then binge watch them all later? (After writing of course) It can be like a reward. Which brings me to my next point:
Rewards Can Be Dangerous
Writing is hard work. Especially writing 50k or more words in one month. I think rewards are great motivators, but be careful! If your reward is checking social media, set a time limit. If it's eating a sugary treat, don't go overboard lest you can't focus on writing!
That's it for Part 1 of 11 Things I Learned From My First NaNoWriMo. Part 2 will be posted next Saturday! Have fun prepping!