While I don’t claim to be an expert (far from it actually), I do have the experience of completing a 50,000 word novel during NaNoWriMo in my lifetime, and since today is November 1st, I thought I should offer up the tips and tricks that guided me through my novel-writing journey.
First and foremost, writing 50,000 words in 30 days looks like a daunting task. Don’t kid yourself into thinking otherwise because it is. One of the most important tips I have that you need to remember is this: Don’t let the sheer size of the task get into your head. If you’re psyched out, you’ll never finish. Trust me. Just sit down, relax, put your hands on your keyboard, and get writing.
Second, make sure you’re writing space is clear of any major distractions. When I completed my NaNoWriMo, I sat in a room with no TV and worked on a computer where I disconnected the Internet while I wrote. The closest I got to distraction was putting my music playlists on shuffle.
Third, what you write during NaNoWriMo will be nowhere near a final draft. Consider it as the first draft of your first draft. Don’t get hung up in plot holes, grammatical errors, or spelling errors. Those things can be fixed later. NaNoWriMo is about words, words, words.
Fourth, set a pace. I tried to write 1500-2000 words a day. There were days I wrote less (0 words) and days I wrote more (5000). If the novel you’re writing is speaking to you, keep going though because you will definitely hit walls and stall throughout the month. By writing ahead when the novel takes you with it, you’ll prepare yourself for when you stall with your writing. If you get way behind in your word count, step back, take a break and simply recalculate your new daily word count. My guess is that it won’t be as bad as you think, so don’t get discouraged.
Fifth, and potentially the most important, have fun. Successfully completing your NaNoWriMo novel is a fun thing to accomplish, so don’t let it stress you out while you reach that goal. Just remember, it’s a marathon and not a sprint.
Hopefully, these tips help you out on your journey. If you have more tips for all the NaNoWriMo participants, leave them in the comments.