Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tips for Getting to the NaNoWriMo Finish Line

Hi all! Although I'm no longer doing NaNo, and although I know a lot of you already won, I decided to post this guest post. It's for those of you who have to push hard to get your WiP done on time and really want to win. Just a few more tips. :-) Thank you for sending me this post, Emily.

Tips for Getting to the NaNoWriMo Finish Line

Writing a novel in a month, as NaNoWriMo participants do, is an exciting and exhilarating, but often frustrating, experience. You have 30 days to write 50,000 words. This means that you have to overcome plot difficulties and deal with writer's block in only 720 hours. But remember, this isn’t a job, and you’re not going to be graded. You shouldn’t hold yourself to the same standard you would your thesis in a masters degree program. If you're stuck, the following tips that can get you through it.

Join in Word Wars
Word wars are 5, 10, 15, or 20 minute blocks of time where you type as much as you can as fast as you can. It gets you writing and the challenge with other writers can boost you up. Since NaNoWriMo is about quantity of words and not quality of words, this gets you to stop thinking and start typing.

Kill a Character
This technique can lead to a whole array of complications and things to write about, even if that means spending 10 pages describing the funeral.

Throw in a Dream
If you have a dream sequence, not only can it reveal something to your character (even if it's something like they're allergic to bread), but it can get you past the "I'm stuck" mantra. If you must, turn it into a recurring dream.

Visit the NaNoWriMo Forums
These are a great place to laugh, seek advice and commiserate with the others are participating in the event.

Take a Break
Stop writing. Walk the dog. Stretch. Eat. It sounds silly, but a break can reduce your anxiety and may even lead to the perfect solution to your character's problem.

NaNoWriMo is a time of coffee, sleep deprivation, plot terrors, and, if you work at it, success. If you've always dreamed of writing "that story," now's the time to do it. Get your fingers on the keyboards and start typing. You can do it.

Thanks again for the post, Emily! My questions for all my writing friends: What tricks do you have to finish NaNo?


  1. I love the part about killing a character 'cause then you can add a ten page funeral to waste word count. :D

  2. Tricks to making NaNo progress? If I said "lacing dinner with things that make everyone fall asleep so I have quiet time at night in the house" would you hold it against me? :oP

  3. I like the part about killing a character and creating a dream sequence. Though I am not doing NaNo, I will try this two techniques.

  4. I admire anyone who does NaNo - its a challenge! And your tips here are very useful. I'm also liking the 'killing a character' idea. Happy writing!

  5. I'm not doing NaNo either. I can't write with that kind of pressure and I need time to think about what I am saying, not just type madly so I understand what you're saying.

  6. Great suggestions. I especially like the war words and will try it as it sounds like it would at least keep your mind moving. thanks

  7. Great points. I like the idea of killing a character. I find walks help and the free writing/ word wars I must do more of.


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