Thursday, November 7, 2013

NaNoWriMo Advice - Part One

It's day 7 of NaNoWriMo!

If you are keeping track of your novel with daily words goals, you should be at about 11,669 words by the end of today. If you're staying on top of it and have reached that goal, or gone beyond, give yourself a round of applause! That is no small feat and you should feel proud of yourself. We've been going at this for seven straight days and getting all of the words in can be tough. Yet, week one can also be one of the best. You're excited, your blood is pumping and you can get the words out like it's breathing. This is a great time to feed off of that and get ahead in your word count. You might need the cushion later.

If you're behind on your word count- don't freak out! It's only week one. You have time to get caught up.

Now that we have seven days of writing under our belts, obstacles and problems are starting to show up. Writing schedule looks a little clearer. Bumps in the road are starting to pop up. There are two things I've noticed people mentioning this first week of NaNoWrimo. Time and focus. Let's tackle those two things today.

"I don't have enough time to write!"

You're right. You probably don't.

None of us have the time. There are a ton of other things I can fill my days up with this month other than writing. I'm wrapping up things at work and I need to meet with volunteers so I can prepare them for when I leave. Tonight, a play I'm co-directing/running sound and lights for is opening and I've been at rehearsal every single night. Sometimes even on weekends. I'm exhausted by the end. I'm constantly searching the internet for jobs and sending out applications, resumes, cover letters, and writing pitches. I still am trying to keep up my blog schedule and putting out quality posts five days a week. I could, and probably should, be doing all of these things instead of writing.

Here's the thing:

You will never have enough time to write your novel. 

Not this month. Not next month. Not next year.

There will never be enough time to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

Now, I'm aware that for some people this really is legitimate. Sometimes there really isn't enough time, and I get it. However... this will always be the case.

If you don't write it now - when will you?

It's going to take sacrifice. Yes, you might have to have some late nights and/or early mornings. Yes, you'll get behind on your favorite TV shows. (That's what the internet if for!) Yes, you might not get to read as many books as you would like this month. Yes, you may not be able to go see that movie the moment it releases.

Get creative with when you write. I bring my iPad and a notebook with me everywhere I go. Have some time before a meeting? Write some words down. Waiting at the doctors office? Get to writing! Heck, if you have some sort of voice recorder, write while you drive. Have a few extra minutes? Check the NaNoWriMo Word Springs Twitter account. They have been doing word sprints nearly 24/7 all week.

Then, set aside time slots to write. One of the popular trends with the Word Sprint Twitter account is 1k30min. Basically, write 1,000 words in a half hour. That's over 1/2 of your word count goal for the day! If you can get 2-3 half hour writing sprints in through the day, you're good to go.

Use the weekends to your advantage. If you get behind through the week, be sure you set aside writing time over the weekend. It's the perfect time to catch up and get ahead!

"I just can't focus!"

I hear you my friend. This honestly has been one of my biggest issues this year. I get distracted easily. my dog wants to be petted. I'm thirsty. I'm hungry. Someone just sent me a text message.

Or other times, I get distracted with novel related things. I want to do more research. There's something I don't know how to spell. I need to look up something on Google really quickly. I end up researching for an hour and don't get a single word written!

Writing a novel is hard work.

Try short word sprints. Like... 10-20 minutes. (If not shorter.) That way you can break it up a bit. It's hard to sit for long periods of time and just write. Try writing in short time periods and take breaks. That way your mind can rest a bit.

Turn off the internet. This one is hard for me, I'm not going to lie. My favorite writing music I usually find online. But along with that music is Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google, and the list goes on and on. But there are times when you just need to turn off your internet and write.

Listen to instrumental music. Sometimes if there are lyrics to a song, I end up singing along or trying to listen to the words, or the song creeps into my novel. It's at this time I switch to instrumental. 8tracks has some awesome writing playlists that are only instrumental music and they have become my go-to writing soundtrack.

Go somewhere new. When you really just can't focus, leave. Go take a walk. Go for a drive. Pack up your laptop and go write at a cafe or the library. A lot of the time I can't write at home. I get distracted easily and don't get much done. I need to go somewhere else that is specifically for writing.

For those of you who are experienced - what other advice would you give to people who don't have the time or focus for NaNoWriMo? If you need advice - what do you need from me?

Also - you all can always contact me if you need some one-on-one help. The best way would be to email me at But you can also contact me through Twitter (@LoveWokeMeUp).

As I was writing this post, I had several other requests for NaNoWriMo advice. I'll write a part 2 of this post tomorrow, and later next week I'll do one or two more. Topics will include: Writing description in your novel, how to fill your middle section of your novel, understanding the slang/acronymns on the NaNoWriMo site, and anything else you all want to know!


  1. I was so happy when I cracked the 10k words yesterday evening. It's hard to write every day after work for me and I thought about quitting but I know I'd regret it. My reason for quitting would be, because it's easier than spending my free time trying to reach my daily word count. I also let go every misconceptions I had about quality because there will be lot that needs revision, I can already tell but going back would be a terrible idea so I'm just gonna go forward for the next 23 days.

    1. I hit 10k yesterday too! Yay for us!

      And yes, there will need to be revision. Anyone that thinks they can write the perfect novel during NaNoWriMo is lying to themselves and setting themselves up for failure. This is a DRAFT. Drafts are supposed to be awful. Just keep going forward like you are now. Get your novel done, and then go back and change it later. What's important is that you have the draft done.


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