Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Top 5 Tips for Completing NaNoWriMo Successfully

Hey you there? Aren't you supposed to be writing your novel for NaNoWriMo? I know I am. I guess we're both busted. Well, since you're here we should just go ahead and discuss some ways to help you finish your goals by the end of the month. The first 10 days, scratch that, 11 days of NaNoWriMo have been quite the eye opener for me. Now I am not new to writing, but trying to complete 50,000 words in 30 days is certainly a lot harder than I had anticipated, especially when this little annoying thing we call "life" gets in the way. So, here are 5 of my best tips or maybe I should just call them what they are: the problems I have had thus far. Maybe you can learn from my mistakes.

Tip #1- Clean your house before you start writing- or leave.

When I am working at home, one of my biggest pet peeves is the mess. I always feel like I need to do the dishes, finish the laundry, sweep the floors, organize toys, etc. before I can sit down and write. Now that procrastination tactic might work on a normal schedule but you have 1600+ words to write today, do you really have time to worry about those other things? I promise you they will still be there December 1, but if you don't meet your goals where will your self-esteem be? That's right, in the pooper. So, if you didn't or didn't know to clean your house before you started your NaNoWriMo writing, then my best suggestion is to leave. I know its cliché to write at a coffeehouse, so go to the library or park or your mom's house or if you're into it: a bar. Just go somewhere that you can avoid being a responsible adult for a few hours until you meet your word count. Who is going to remember the date and time you finished all the laundry for the week? No one, but you will remember the date and time you finished your first book. Keep that in mind when you are tempted to start scrubbing the floors.

Tip #2- Disconnect or put away your computer.

I know this is going to sound a little crazy, but get rid of the computer if you are procrastinating. If you must type then disconnect the internet. It is so easy to troll away on Facebook or BuzzFeed and you can kill 3 hours, well faster than it seems on these sites. If you can't keep your eyes away from your friend's status updates or tweets then it is time to break out the old fashioned paper and pen. I have been using a legal pad and pen all week and I have been much more productive, albeit not perfect, but better than usual because I don't have all the interesting cat pictures and YouTube videos to catch up on. Plus I kind feel like it is easier because I don't have to self edit when the little red or green squiggles pop up while I'm typing. I can just get my ideas out and then when I go back to type it in I can make the adjustments without ever breaking my writing flow. If you are having trouble try handwriting it, and if it feels strange just imagine you are channeling Emily Bronte or Nathaniel Hawthorne. Typing is new, writing is not. Keep that in mind too.

Tip #3 Plan what you are going to write.

If you do not have an updated outline or synopsis, please take the time to write one now. I promise it will save you time in the future when you run out of steam or write yourself into a corner. Now since I had an outline that I have been working from, you'd think, I would be alright. But alas, no. I was working from an old outline when this week I realized I could no longer use it. I spent an entire day reworking my outline and making adjustments so it would be much easier for me to follow daily. This will also help eliminate some writer's block if you know what needs accomplished each day. Had I done this prior to the start of NaNoWriMo, I may not have had to jump my word count from 1600 to 2000 words per day. However, if I, the self proclaimed queen of procrastination, can do it, so can you. It is not too late. Don't give up just yet!

Tip #4 Make a writing schedule.

So, this seems like a no brainer and it may be to some of you that have regular weekly schedules. However, I do not. I am every bit as random in my daily life as I am here on this blog. So, I tend to get caught up in things that prevent me from writing when I expected to be writing. To solve this problem, I had to consult my schedule and set aside a time (3 hours) for me to write. Some days this is early morning, others mid day, some evenings and lastly some days, all day. This may not be practical for you, so if you work a normal 9-5 work day you need to choose time in the morning or evening to work or even a little of both. And most importantly stick to it! See Tip #1 and #3 if you are having trouble with procrastination.

Tip #5 Create a face that will scare away anyone that tries to distract you while you are writing.

I am dead serious about this too. You should discuss with your family, friends and roommates that you are working and they need to leave you alone during your designated times (see tip #4). If they do not proceed to scare them with a Jenna Marbles face so they know you mean business. This face will also work for annoying baristas, small children in the library, or a creepy guy trying to hit on you. This is important because distractions are going to keep you from completing your novel. Keeping them to a minimum is a must. So, unless there is a fire, projectile vomiting or bone sticking through skin, it is not worth it. Use the face. Source: Jenna Marbles Scare Face Video

So, there are my tips. Where are you on your word count today? I am way behind, I only have about 3800 words. Yeah. I'm gonna go.

See ya later,

-Jami Lynn