7 ways to survive NaNoWriMo
Written by
Fi Phillips
October 2012
Written by
Fi Phillips
October 2012

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1. Plan your book

I don't necessarily mean write out a chapter plan but at the very least sketch out an idea of where your story will go, the barest bones of its plot. You don't have to keep exactly to this plan but at least you'll have a guideline to start from.


2. When will you write?

It's all well and good to announce that you're going to take part in NaNoWriMo but when during each (and every) day in November will you fit in that writing? Be realistic. You will still need to eat and sleep, go to work, have a bath and so on. Don't sabotage your writing month by not working out when in your current routine you can fit in this creative onslaught. Look at the things you have to do in November. Reschedule if you can. Juggle. Delegate. Beg mercy from your family. Find your slot and stick to it.


3. Where will you write?

You may already have a perfect corner to do your writing or you may be one of those people who writes where they can, or wherever they like. Again, be realistic. If you write every day for a month, where can you park yourself? To create a continual flow in your writing, it will probably be best to set up your creative station in the same place each day. Where can you do this without disrupting the rest of the household or your life (unless of course you want to disrupt your life)?


4. Park the internal editor

One of the joys, and demons, of NaNoWriMo is the need to write as much as you can, hopefully 50,000 words. This requires that you do not go back and edit. It's ok to read back but even this can raise the head of your internal editor. There will be plenty of time to call on him (or her) once December begins. For this month of 'literary abandon', send the IE on holiday.

5. Warn your family and friends

Yes, of course we fellow writers understand what NaNoWriMo requires from you but your loved ones may be unaware of the time, strong coffee and 'being left in peace' requirements that the month cries out for. Warn them in advance. More than that, tell them how important the process is to you. By all means, promise them the world in December once you've returned to the land of living - life is all about negotiation after all - but give them fair warning of your unavailability during November.


6.Seek out fellow NaNoWrimers

The month is all about writing as much as you can but it doesn't have to be a journey you take alone. There is a wonderful community of fellow travellers to call on. Visit the NaNoWriMo website to share your experience with all those other writers braving it along with you.

7. Finally, do not get hung up on word count

Yes, I know that there is a lovely little device on the website to record your word count and of course word count is what the month is all about but set yourself this rule. For the period of time each day that you write, do not check your word count. Stopping to check will  interrupt your flow of writing. Write, write, write and when you can write no more (or time runs out), stop and then see how much you've written.

Good luck, fellow travellers. On your marks...

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