Tips for NaNoWriMo

Tomorrow is the first day of National Novel Writing Month. Although I’ve never taken part in it and probably never will,1 I think it’s an awesome way for beginning writers to learn the art of the first draft. I know many pro writers who also use the month to help them slay their deadlines. Nothing like knowing you have comrades-in-arms in your writing struggles.

Scott and me decided that we’ll spend the month offering tips. Scott’s tips will be over on his blog and will appear on the odd numbered days of November, mine will be here on the even days. Though as I’m still deep in Liar promotion, I can’t guarantee my tips will be 100% true. Who knows? Maybe Micah will take over for a few of them?

If you have anything specific you’d like a tip on, let me know in the comments.

Happy Halloween! Don’t scare your younger siblings too much or steal all their sugariffic treats.

  1. November is almost always a travelling month for me. []


  1. Cyndy Otty on #

    This will actually be the 9th year I’ll do Nano (though, last year sort of doesn’t count since I didn’t write a single word). But I’m always happy to see a published author endorse and support Nano. Over the years I’ve seen, well, some rather derogatory things said about the project. (Which I don’t really get, it’s like they feel all of the participants are suddenly going to be publishing against them and their work will by extension be substandard.)

    Anyway, I’m excited to see the tips you and Scott dole out. 🙂

  2. Justine on #

    Cyndy: Yeah, I’ve been wondering what gets up people’s noses, too. I see quite a few of the nay sayers worrying that NaNo emphasises writing fast over writing well, which it does. But I think people who worry about that are missing the point. Very few people go into NaNo expecting to have a finished publishable book at the end. It’s more about finally sitting yourself down and actually attempting to write a novel, rather than daydreaming about doing so.

    I’ve heard many NaNoWriMo veterans talk about how hard it was and how they have a newfound respect for those of us who write novels for a living. I’m all for that! 🙂 Novel writing is harder than it looks.

  3. Zahra Alley on #

    Yeah definitely, I tried it last year and I couldn’t believe how hard it was. I don’t think many people can just write down some sentences or passages and make it sound good the first time. If it wasn’t for the time limit, I’d have sat there tinkering with my project forever!

    I have a question: How do you get around writer’s block? As soon as I happen to get stuck, it all goes downhill from there and procrastination takes the lead. It’s the WORST during NaNo.

  4. Rachel on #

    I definitely think NaNo is a great way to start out b/c it’s almost impossible to fall into the trap of “making it perfect” before you move on… before I did NaNo all of my novels got stuck in editing the first few pages.

    Glad you’re giving advice again, yours is always great!

  5. Julie Polk on #

    This is great! I’m stepping up to the NaNo plate for the first time this year, I’m sending links to both your and Scott’s blogs to my NaNo buddy. She and I have committed to cajoling/dragging/cheering each other across the finish line, and I’m sure these will help. Thank you!

    As to the naysayers, the ones I’ve seen fall into two basic categories: those who wonder about the value of slamming out a draft of destined-to-be-questionable quality and those who dismiss the entire idea as a pointless and amateur self-indulgent word nerd party. The second group strikes me as plain old snobs, so I’m ignoring them. And I think the first group has a point, but I think the value of slamming out a draft is really quite high if you’ve never done it (and possibly if you have). I’ve written a lot of stuff, but most of it is short– essays, a couple of stories, some short commentaries – and none of the several longer pieces I’ve got under my belt is longer than 35,000 words. I’m STOKED at the opportunity to take a flying leap at a novel in the company of a globe full of people doing it with me.

    Since this is my first year, I went to the NY kickoff party to get into the swing of things, and I didn’t meet a single person there who thought they were coming away with a finished anything on November 30. There were people who do it every year and were just about having fun and not caring what came out, and there were people who were excited at the prospect of generating some material to work with in the coming months, and there were people using it as a way of working on second drafts (I know, technically cheating – but I think the good of writing solidly for a month trumps the “bad” of flouting of what are nicely thought-out but essentially arbitrary rules). I think the only people who have an understandable gripe about NaNoWriMo might be agents who are on the receiving end of the small percentage of participants who think that you actually can write a finished novel in 30 days. And having worked for an agent and read through slush piles, I guarantee you that the junk they might receive from NaNo is indistinguishable from a lot of the junk they receive anyway.

    On to Chapter One!

  6. wandering-dreamer on #

    Gonna try NaNo for my first time this year (I wanted to last year but November was the month that I had my huge senior project) and I’m fairly excited about it. I really don’t know what to expect with what I’ll be able to do so I guess it’ll be an adventure in more ways than one.

  7. PixelFish on #

    I jokingly am calling it FiNoWriMo for Finish Novel Writing Month.

    So yeah, I’m participating….but not according to the rules.

  8. Summer on #

    I’ve wanted to try for years but never got around to it…but no more! *dramatic music plays* I plan on working on my first series, my first (real)short story, and a story about a character from another series….time to stop procrastinating for me (hopefully.)

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