Monday, October 21, 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013 Prep: Tips for Making Your Daily Wordcount

During NaNoWriMo, you have 30 days to write 50,000 words. That's about 1,667 words per day to hit 50k on November 30th. Some days that goal seems like a piece of cake, and other days every single word is agony. Here are a few tips to help you make your word count goal.

1. Avoid things that are distracting to you.

Notice the emphasis on "to you" there? Yeah. Everyone's writing process is different, and only you know what's going to distract you from getting words on the page. For example, I can't work if it is quiet. Seriously. Silence makes my ears ring, and it makes me twitchy. I have to have music or the TV on in order to be able to write. Some people need silence. Some people need to turn off the Internet. Occasionally I'll put my cell phone in another room so I'm not distracted by the urge to check for texts or tweets.

2. Be comfortable.

I have a lovely desk with a fast computer and a widescreen monitor, but I do most of my writing on my laptop. Why? Because the couch is comfy. I sit at my desk when I have my serious face on and I'm editing or proofreading, but the couch is the best for me when I need to get the words out. As much as I love coffee, I don't get as much writing accomplished in a coffee shop, because my muse refuses to cooperate if my table is wobbly or my chair is too stiff. She's a diva that way.

3. If you get stuck, skip ahead.

Some scenes are harder to write than others. If you hit a block, don't fixate on finishing whatever you're stuck on. Skip it and come back to it later. I tend to get stuck on fight scenes, so for the first draft I'll put in a placeholder, like [fight scene here]. This is why I've come to appreciate writing a plot outline ahead of time, because it gives me a guide to the action.

4. Declare a Word War.

In a Word War, you battle other writers over a set amount of time (usually an hour), and the one with the most words at the end wins. BFF Diana and I used to Word War all the time, with the loser buying a sandwich for the winner. You can do battle at a write-in or online, whatever floats your boat. There are often people on Twitter looking for opponents.

5. Don't edit.

November is for writing. December is for editing. Resist the urge to go back and obsessively fiddle with a scene you've already written. It's okay if it's not perfect. Really nothing is supposed to be perfect in your first draft--that's why it's your first draft. After you have the words down and you've succeeded in writing the beginning, middle and end, then you can edit to your heart's content.

Have any NaNo tips you'd like to share? Please feel free to leave them in the comments!

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