Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? If you’re unaware, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. Every November, hundreds of thousands of authors write a complete novel — in a month. So, let’s look at some novel writing tips to help you to write 50,000 words in one month.
Of course, you can use these tips any month, no need to wait for NaNoWriMo.
Novel writing tips for all authors, new and experienced
Over the past few years, I’ve entered NaNoWriMo a couple of times, and sadly found it too much of a distraction. I was checking forums and chatting with people, and that, combined with my day job, meant that I was too stressed.
Here are some novel writing tips I’ve found useful–you can use them anytime.
1. Know what you’re writing on November 1 (or NOW): get your novel organized
According to the NaNoWriMo rules, you can do all your novel’s preparation earlier, so that you can start writing on November 1. If you’re anything like me, the first few days after I start a new novel are frustrating: I spend more time on character attributes, setting, and outlining, than I do writing. So start your prep NOW.
2. Start slowly, finish strongly: build your writing muscles as you go
If you’re a newbie author, writing 1,600 words on Day 1 of NaNoWriMo can take you hours. Combine this with starting to write a new novel, and you may be tempted to give up in the first few days.
Relax. Start writing slowly. See how you feel. Over the course of the first week, you should be building a rhythm. If you only manage to write 400 words on Day 1, that’s OK. You will make it up later.
Here’s a handy word count calculator.
3. Schedule your daily words: block off time in your calendar
Many authors find the most success when they do their daily writing stint first, before they start their day. If you can’t face the thought of getting up an hour earlier, schedule your words later in the day. Oddly enough, your words may flow more easily when you’re tired. Your inner editor is sleepy too.
4. Ration the time you spend on the social aspects of NaNoWriMo
Joining a NaNoWriMo forum or group can be useful. You build your motivation, when you’re writing with others. However, getting too social can cut into your writing time. Do your daily word count first, then socialize.
5. Write! It doesn’t need to be perfect, it just needs to be written
First draft material can be messy. That’s OK. It’s meant to be messy — you’re a writer, not a typist. You can clean your words up in your next draft, when NaNoWriMo is done.
Keep a book journal, to track all your ideas about your project, and to make revision notes.
Vital: have FUN writing your novel
Whether this is your first novel, or your tenth, every novel is a new journey. You’ve never met these characters before, so enjoy your sojourn with them. All too soon, November will be over. Have fun and keep writing, and by the end of November you’ll be the proud author of the first draft of a new novel.
Good luck. 🙂
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Updated: May 19, 2021