It’s November and, for some writers, that means it’s time for
I’m a first-timer so you can expect that I’ll make mistakes, won’t be as productive as veterans of NaNo, will likely stress on the days when I have no time to write, and may get stuck in the middle of my story.
All that fear aside, I jumped in with both feet. I didn’t have a complete outline and had questions on how to make a couple of parts of my story work.
I decided to continue to plot as I went along – one issue solved.
If I get 50,000 words of crap written, I can always go back and fix it. At least I’ll have the bones down.
In my first 6 days, I’ve learned a few other things that might help you:
whether you’ve begun NaNo or not,
whether you’re a first-timer or not
whether you’re participating in NaNo or just slogging through your work in progress on your own schedule.
6 Things I’ve learned from my first 6 days of NaNo
- It’s pretty damn scary to imagine writing a novel in 30 days when, in my case, plotting, character sketches, setting descriptions, research, and writing has taken me close to a year before now. I know where I want my story to go and I know I can write well so, I refuse to allow fear to get in my way.
- Writing is lonely. When you’re lonely, staying motivated is tough. It helps to bounce ideas off others and to give and receive encouragement. I found several Buddies to keep me moving forward without fear. I do the same for them.
- I didn’t plan far enough ahead. Out of fear of commitment, I planned poorly. My outline wasn’t even 25% done and I had only done character profiles on my main character so, I began at a disadvantage. Next time, I will have all my character sketches, setting description and outline completed before the start of NaNo.
- I was disorganized. The first couple of days I had no scheduled time set aside for writing. In fact, I’ve never had scheduled time set aside. So, I scrambled, trying to fit it in with all of my other planned activities for the day. Writing has to come first. Now, I write at the same time everyday.
- I needed a way to motivate myself when Buddies were busy with their own writing. As much as I cringe at the thought of deadlines, they do may me work faster and more focused. The Pomodoro Technique works for me. I set a timer for 30 minutes and write as much as I can in that time. Then I take a ten minute break where I do something unrelated to writing. Then I go back for another 30 minutes and continue in this manner until I’ve reached my goal. You should try using a timer.
- Fear of failure is a big problem for writers. We worry about aspect of writing, marketing and publishing. So in facing a challenge like NaNo, it’s not surprising when you hear a writer speak with apprehension. For whatever reason, 50,000 words didn’t frighten me o I was certain I could be successful. My motto: Plan to win!
Here are two more lessons learned from a couple of my Buddies:
Bonnie Burnatowski – “I’m learning that I should stop editing so much and just write. It’s very time-consuming to keep going back and editing everything as I write. It’s a bad habit I have acquired over time.”
Kristin Nador – “I am learning that there is always time for writing. I just have to choose me.
We’ve given you a lot to think about and I hope it helps.
Are you taking part in NaNo this month? If so, what have you learned so far?
Do you have other tips for writers on writing a first draft?
Please do let me know what’s on mind your mind. I love hearing from you.