Friday, 7 August 2015

My Nanowrimo: Tips

So if you didn't already know, recently I've participated in Camp Nanowrimo. It's a challenge to write a 50, 000 word novel in a month (or Camp Nanowrimo is more lenient, and you can have a flexible word count, as long as you make some progress on your WIP). The Nanowrimo challenges happen in April, July and November,

I've been working on a contemporary YA novel this July, and I'm not going to lie, it's been stressful, but a really rewarding experience, because I have now written my first ever novel! (No, I'm still not over that!)

There are, however, some things that I would've loved to have known at the beginning of this Nanowrimo month. So here they are - my Nanowrimo tips!

1. Don't worry about the word count too much

Okay, so you have to write a 50k novel in a month - that and stressing come hand in hand, right? 

Well, my biggest piece of advice is to not worry about all those words too much. Take it day by day -  if you're writing a 50k novel, you should write roughly about 1,500 words a day to win. If only you manage to write 200 words one day because of writers block, then that's still 200 words you didn't have yesterday. You can always make all the others up on a day when you're not as busy, or when the words are just flowing better. 

2. Don't strive for perfection

To paraphrase the Ernest Hemingway quote: 'The first draft of anything is rubbish'.

You're not going to write amazing words, so just accept that and focus on achieving your daily word count. 

Once you've won the challenge and written that first draft, then you can edit and craft those less than perfect words into utter perfection. 

Just make sure that you have those words there in the first place - and you won't get to craft anything if you don't have enough materials to work with, so just make sure you have that first draft done, and then you can get working on making that draft better and better with redrafts, and edits.

3. Remind yourself why you're taking part

You signed up to take part in Nanowrimo for a reason - whether it's so that you can write a novel, a play, some poetry, you name it - but you signed up, thinking 'Yeah, I'm gonna do this.' 

Remember that - remember exactly what you wanted to achieve by the end of the challenge. There will be times when you're busy, when you're hit hard with a lack of motivation, and serious writer's block. But you wanted to do this, so you can do it. Just get those words down, even when you think they're the worst of the worst, you can fix that later - and you'll have that piece of work that you've always wanted. 

If you remind yourself throughout the month what you'll have at the end of this - your first book, your first play, taking time out to write and spending time writing should be a little bit easier, even when it's super stressful. 

4. Backup your writing 

Please, please backup your writing! Whether you use Google Drive, or your trusty USB, please make sure you save your work everyday - you don't want to make great strides with your work only to find out that all your progress has disappeared the next day! I'd recommend Google Drive, because it'll save everything automatically, and you can easily save a hard copy from there too. But there are lots of other resources out there, like a free 30 day trail of Scrivener (perfect for the challenge!) that I've heard works well, too. 

However you do it, just save, save, save!

So those are my top Nanowrimo tips, whether you try Camp Nanowrimo, or Nanowrimo in November. I hope they help! 

What are your top Nanowrimo tips?

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