As we move into the middle of the month, I’ve realized some things from working on my novel and writing for NaNoWriMo. Some things are good and some things I need to work on myself, either way, we are working toward the same goal, completing a novel, and hopefully having a good time while doing it.
do your best. try to write every day. plan to write every day.
A lot of people focus a lot on their daily word count, which is great, and that’s how you track your progress while working to your NaNoWriMo goal, but I have a lot going on during the day and this November I’ve been having a pretty emotional time. I’ve been moving back and forth and it’s been chaos! So sometimes I cannot get out 1500 words for my daily word count, sometimes I can only crank out 500, but that’s okay. It’s also okay if I don’t write every day. I really aimed for 5 days a week, and fortunately have been able to keep that commitment. I think it helps that I gave myself two days off. If I got paid to write full time, I’d be doing it more, but this is what I can manage right now, and that’s okay.
Scrivner is your friend.
I wasn’t sure if I really needed to get software at first. I wanted to, but cash has been tight so I didn’t want to invest and not invest. If you know what I mean. So I decided that if I wrote five chapters and felt like writing on Google Docs was not cutting it, I’d get Scrivner. I can’t imagine not writing with Scrivner now. It keeps everything so organized and easy to navigate, and I can add everything that revolves around my novel in one place. I have a long manuscript and then individual chapters separated, with arcs listed for each chapter. I have mood boards and notes for my locations and characters. I also keep a workbook with all my questions, concerns, and ideas. It’s pretty great.
Mutual writers are your friends & ultimately your lifesavers
I would never say that I feel alone when writing because I’m not really present to my surroundings and I’m with my characters, but it can feel isolating after a while. NaNoWriMo is a built-in community in which you can meet people through the internet, or in person, and write together, or talk about writing together. It feels great to know that there are other people doing this insane thing as well, and it’s nice to meet people who are just endlessly supportive.
“Silent your Editor”
This remains to be the best advice I can give and take. I know when something is awful when I am writing it, but maybe I’m just stuck and cannot figure out another way to get this idea across. Instead of sitting there and tapping my keys, waiting for something I love to come rushing out, I write it and move on to other parts of my story. The only time I will go back and edit is when I realize something huge within the arc doesn’t make sense, and I will go back and fix it, which may ultimately leave me editing some things after that point in the story to get the arc where it needs to be. I find that I need to do this immediately, otherwise I am wasting time working on something I know I will need to change, and cause a lot of confusion within the novel.
Fall in love with writing again
This is on a similar note with what I have said before, but I feel that NaNoWriMo does ultimately great things for writers, but one thing I find is that it breeds this intensity for some people and then they are unable to keep that momentum going, and either give up because they find that they are behind in their goal tracking or finish a whole month of writing but let that momentum sizzle away after November. I think it’s important to not lose your love for just writing, and continue this commitment when December comes. Keep writing if you don’t finish your first draft at the end of the month. I know I will not finish mine, but I am not going to stop. Then comes the lovely trip to revisions, which is a whole other ball game.