Saturday, November 24, 2012

NaNoWriMo Advice

Each #nanowrimo, I write like a maniac. And I'm always rushing to finish on 11/30. But not this year.

102% written, 7 days to go

The amazing thing is that it should read "102%, 10 days" because I finished my 50k on November 20th. 10 whole days early. SHUT. UP.

Here is what I learned this year that I didn't realize before:
  • The story REALLY MATTERS. When I wrote what I thought I should write, I struggled. But this year, I picked a story that I wanted to write, and it was so much easier. 
  • Outlines rock. I started with a shell, but I took time to revise the outline as I went so that each session had a goal. Maybe this doesn't match with the "literary abandon" theme from nanowrimo, but it worked for me.
  • Momentum can make a big difference. I had one day when I wrote over 7k. That felt amazing. But it also meant I sat in my chair typing for hours and hours. I wrote after the kids went to school, after they got home from school, while I worked on dinner, after dinner, and as the kids got ready for bed. It was a long day, and I only did that once, but it really got me through the heart of the story and into a new section.
  • Supporters make it work. I've done this for a few years now, so my husband knows not to expect a full house cleaning before Thanksgiving. The kids know that I'll be working on my next book for most of the month. Their support and encouragement help me to keep going. And I know not to schedule too many outside meetings, get-togethers or other distractions so that I can focus.
  • Ignore the 1,667 goal for each day. When I used that number as my daily goal, I inevitably fell behind, then forced myself to write gibberish the last few days to catch up. Ignore it. Double it. If you know you have a big conflict, vacation, or family visitors for Thanksgiving, then triple it. That way, on those days when you must have a zero, you won't feel defeated. You'll have the strength to keep going. It made a big difference for me this year.
Don't get me wrong - what I wrote still needs a lot of work. And I'm sure that grand total of words will go way down as I edit the crap and make it smooth and readable. But to have the book here, in my computer and ready to mold, feels wonderful.

So thank you, Office of Letters and Light, for making NaNoWriMo a tradition in my house. I plan to make my donation now to keep this worthwhile and inspirational group going next year. If you've participated this year, I know they'd appreciate it if you would do the same.

One last piece of advice - DON'T PANIC if you aren't finished. There are still seven days to go, and that is more time than you realize. Thanksgiving is over and there is a whole week of November remaining. Shopping and holiday prep can wait until December 1. Just keep typing...


  1. Congratulations, Alison! I just reached 50,062 last night, and I've still got a ways to go until "the end", but it felt good!

    1. Erica - congrats to you, too! It is quite a relief to see 50,000.

  2. Congratulations to you! I am way behind in my word count this year.
    Thanks for the follow on Twitter; following you now.

    1. - There's still time! :) I hope you have a chance to catch up this week. And thanks for following - I'll look for you on Twitter.