How many of you are tackling this competition this year? Or do you have better sense than me?
This is my third year participating in NaNo. I think I must be a glutton for punishment and stress because I always think I need to put myself through this since I discovered it in 2012.
If you’ve never done it, you won’t know what I’m talking about. But if you have, you’ll know the writing frenzy we all undertake.
I’m the kind of person that thinks I can always accomplish something, even if I know the odds are against me from the get go. Nevertheless, this doesn’t dissuade me from trying. I’m not sure what a psychologist would say about the state of my mind, or where I get this trait from. I simply can’t pass up a good challenge and have always been this way.
Week one hasn’t been easy, but I have persevered and slacked off in a few other areas. Of course I knew this was rough going in because this is my third time. I did finish the first two times and I intend to finish this time, even if it kills me. I don’t enter anything without those expectations from myself.
My advice is to keep writing until you are spent daily. Then write a bit more, if you can coax it out of your head from someplace. DON’T EDIT anything. This is a rough crappy first draft you’re writing. Polishing and cutting can come later. So can filling in any holes.
I’m not a plotter before I write, but I do an outline and character sketches before November for the NaNo. I keep that in a separate file to refer to. You should not have to waste your time looking things up and figuring all this stuff out once November first arrives. Your purpose then is to write every chance you get. If you get stumped on a name or description, put a question mark there and keep going.
Stock up on snacks and have ideas for quick meals to prepare if you don’t live alone, so you can get that out of the way as fast as possible and get back to writing. No TV or social media during November -- not unless you are way ahead of schedule and want to reward your efforts by taking one day off. That’s up to you.
I sit and write for hours without getting up. I have a huge tumbler that holds four glasses of water by my side, along with a bag of trail mix, or crackers, or chocolate, and don’t even take a potty break unless I’m about to pee in my pants. I’m obsessed when I’m on a deadline and I feel that the NaNo is a big deadline.
It feels so good to reach some of the pillars though, such as the 10,000 word mark, or the 25,000 when you know you’re halfway there. I’m finishing week one with 14,199 words, so not bad.
If you’re one of the crazy ones doing this, keep writing and good luck!