Wednesday, November 1, 2017

NaNo Need-to-Knows: Tips for Week 1

Hey everyone, if you want to read my IWSG Post, you can find it here. If you would like to find the rest of the NaNo Need-to-Knows Series, just click here. :-)

Today is November 1st, so I shared my three best tips for NaNo Week 1. The script I used will follow the video, if you prefer to read.



Since you’re hopefully rearing to get to writing, I’m going to keep things as short and sweet as possible.

So tip number one is write something. Anything. 

A lot of writers get stage fright in the beginning of a writing project, because blank pages have a psychological impact on our creativity. So make sure your first page stops being blank as soon as you can. Even if you write something stupid like “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” or an entire scene about the character eating pancakes… whatever. Just write something down, because those first words will lead to more.

Tip number 2: Pace Yourself. 

Maybe you’re different to me, but I’ve always found that the first section of a book is the second easiest to write, following closely on the heels of the climax and resolution. So once you get past the first page jitters, the words will be flowing in something like a flood, and it’s easy to be tempted into writing thousands on thousands of words in a day.

But.

You need to avoid that temptation and cap that amount at slightly higher than your normal word count. If your NaNo word count target is already higher, cap it a the amount you need to write.

Why?

Because you’re not in this to sprint. NaNoWriMo is a marathon, and if you don’t pace yourself, you’re increasing the likelihood of burning out. I know writers who only draft in NaNo and take an entire way to recover because they burn themselves out. Don’t do that to yourself. It’s better to write 20k or 30k every month than 50k for NaNo and none in the rest of the year.

Tip number 3: Enjoy Yourself. 

With the high wordcount requirement and short time frame, it’s easy to get stuck on the challenge part and forget about the fact that writing is fun.

Don’t to that, because stress is so not good for your creativity. So yes, push yourself, but also remind yourself that no one will shoot your dog if you don’t win.

Best of luck! Are you excited to start or regretting your decision to join?

24 comments:

  1. As someone who burns out easily, I completely agree about learning to pace yourself. And so true about how challenges should be fun and not stressful. I sometimes feel guilty for taking breaks when I have a deadline, but then I remind myself recharging is just as vital to the creation process...

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    1. Same here. I sometimes push myself if I really feel I can, but often those high levels of productivity puts me out of commission for three to six months. So it's better to stick to slow(ish) writing that's consistent.

      Would be nice if I could get back to being consistent, though.

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  2. You always have such excellent advice! I like the 'Enjoy Yourself' part.
    I've discovered that when I am having a good time, it shows in the writing.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Happy IWSG Day!

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    1. How you feel definitely shows in your writing. Guess you can't avoid it when writing is like pouring a bit of your soul onto the page. :-)

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  3. Very timely tips as I start in on my NaNo writing today. Personally, I'm hoping for some sprint-like days where I write and write and write to counteract those days where I get zero words down on the page.

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    1. Yeah I do that too, although I try to stick as close to par as possible so one or two good days will see me catch up.

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  4. Fantastic advice, Misha! Love it! Sharing it now!

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  5. Suppose I'm starting in a way. I'm using another year's Nano as my submission for my degree, so I'm having to read-write the novel, but this time with more care, Misha. Hard graft! ☹️

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    1. Sounds like it, but if anyone can do it, I'm sure it's you. :-)

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  6. I like the remembrance that writing is fun. Sometimes, we need to be reminded of that.
    Hope your weekend is great.

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    1. Yeah it's so easy to lose sight of that.

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  7. Although I have never done NaNo- this sounds like great advice. I have always wanted to try it- but November tends to be a very busy month for me. Good luck to all participating!
    ~Jess

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    1. Maybe you should try Camp NaNoWriMo in April and July (I think those are the months).

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  8. Excellent tips!

    I've experienced a bit of burn out with my writing in the past because I've pushed myself too hard. You're right that it's better to keep it more reasonable and so be able to keep going.

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    1. Yeah I've also learned that lesson. In the beginning, I chased the "zone" where I'd get lost in my writing and just churn out word after word and find myself at the end of the day with thousands and thousands of written words.

      But invariably, hitting the zone gets followed by burning out for weeks or even months. So now I kinda avoid it.

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  9. Wonderful advice! There I’ve written something OK it's only a comment, but it's a start - right?

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  10. Great tips for participating in NaNo. Especially the one about pacing yourself to avoid writer burn out. I could see myself making that mistake quite easily!

    With Love,
    Mandy

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    1. Yeah it's easy to get excited and push too hard. :-)

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