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Divas on Writing: NaNoWriMo and GO!

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Last year was my first foray into NaNoWriMo. Needless to say, I didn’t win. In fact, I got busy with editing and couldn’t finish my story. I was a little let down with myself. I went in wanting to finish my novel and came out with only fifteen thousand words or so. Not the number I wished to have come December 1st. So I got to thinking: What I could do to change up my routine, get to the grindstone, and pull out the word count I wanted to successfully complete NaNoWriMo 2014.

I made a little list for myself to follow, check it out.

  • Set a goal. Yeah, I know this is a typical rule you need with NaNoWriMo, but it’s probably the most important one. And one goal every author needs to live by if they want to complete the challenge. I’m going to set my goal at 2,000 words a day. It’s more than the minimum goal of 1,666 words a day needed to achieve the required 50,000 words to complete, but it’s an achievable goal I can make and still come out ahead. This goal will be one that I’m going to try to stick too everyday. Because I if I skip a day, that’s 4,000 words I’m going to have to write the next day, and to a snail like me, that’s torture.
  • Tell your family and friends your plans for NaNoWriMo. Be accountable to the people that mean the most to you. Then they will hound you and ask you questions all month about your book, the status, etc. The amount of guilt you will get for not following through with your goal will either make you get to typing or quit altogether. Which would you rather have? To be serious for a minute, if more people know what you’re doing, there is more room for encouragement. And I know I need all the positive reinforcement I can get.
  • Decide what is your best time of the day. I know the best time for me to write is in the morning and afternoon while the kids are at school. Once they get home and the hubs is back from work, I close my computer because I have to take care of them. So, what time is best for you? It could be the early morning or the late night. The point being is that you take advantage of the best time of the day you can be productive.
  • Find some fellow NaNoWriMo participants. I work better when I have some other people in my corner who are also going through the same thing. But I don’t necessarily work better with people just online. There are many NaNoWriMo writing groups in your area. The website has a place you can search for a group in your region. Plus if you find more writers in your neck of the woods, instant friends!
  • Stop editing!!! I can’t stress this enough because it’s my major crutch while writing. I stop myself and go back and edit, rewrite, delete, scowl, cry, and rewrite again way too much. I can’t just be satisfied with a chapter and move on. It’s the worst trait to have when trying to finish a book. Self editing is what I tell all my authors to avoid doing when they are actively writing. Wait until you’re done with the meat and bones before you go back and put more flesh on your story.
  • Outline your story.  Even though NaNoWriMo has already started, take some time and outline your story so you have a clear path of where you’re going. Sometimes authors can’t work with outlines and that’s fine, the purpose is that if you can organize your thoughts, you’re more likely to achieve your goal. So even if it’s a small outline or a fully developed ten pager, have something to keep you on track.
  • Lastly, don’t worry what others are doing. I know there are authors out there that can finish a 50k or more novel in two weeks. That author ain’t me. I don’t know how they do it or what they do to achieve it… Make a deal with the devil or something? Whatever it is, it amazes me.  I’m slower than molasses when it comes to writing my own stuff. Seeing these people on Facebook or Twitter or writing groups always makes me grumpy. So in order to protect yourself from getting all jelly about these bionic writers, take a step back from social media. It may be hard, but while you’re writing, turn off the world and dedicate your time to the words.

Most of things I’ve listed are common knowledge for a lot of you, but it doesn’t hurt to remind yourself of what is needed to make the most of NaNoWriMo. I plan on finishing this year, even with edits on my desk.  I plan on  writing an article about my journey here as well. So yep, I’m totally holding myself accountable with you, our readers. If anyone would like to comment or share their tips for being a successful NaNoWriMo participant, please leave some love below. I hope to hear a lot about all the winners in December, including myself!

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