And We’re Off…NaNoWriMo Style

This is going to be my first year participating in the official National Novel Writing Month.  I’m quite excited about it, and I’m going to be working on a novelized version of a screenplay that I’ve written about 600 times in 427 different incarnations over the past 32 years or so.  Those of you who knew-me-when are probably very familiar with this screenplay/story, so I apologize for bringing nothing new to the table.  But, alas, I’ve decided that the story could really be opened up as a novel, and I’m ever so looking forward to diving into these characters much, much further.

Anyway, even though this is my first official NaNoWriMo, I did spend this past September holding my very own MagsNoWriMo (Magistra’s Novel Writing Month), and I did succeed in finishing that novel (which is in desperate need to be revised, but that’s what December is for).  Here’s how I got through it:

1. For this month, at least, writing comes first. This is very hard for me, because I’m so addicted to TV, but until I’ve written my 2000+ words for the day, there can be no America’s Next Top Model.  That’s just the way it has to be.  My plan is to get up early and write for an hour or two (hopefully the boy child will sleep late enough to allow for this even with the time change), so I can start the day off on the write foot.  Ah, puns, you are a delight.

2. Find a soundtrack to spur you on during non-writing times. I like to take longish rides to the drive-thru Starbucks in the morning (this serves as nap time for my little ones; sorry, environment!), and on the road I will listen to my book-approved soundtrack on the old iPod.  This novel’s soundtrack shall be…”Sand in the Vaseline — Vol. 1 and 2″ by Talking Heads.  I think.  So far.

3. Don’t stress out, and don’t burn out. NaNoWriMo may be a “contest” of sorts, but it’s really all about you and your goals.  Don’t set too far-reaching a goal, and don’t set too easy a goal.  Maybe 50,000 words is too lofty, so try for 30,000.  Or just make a week-to-week or day-to-day goal to make things seem more manageable.  Instead of looking at the final number, for instance, I like to think in terms of writing 2,000 words a day, which is pretty do-able (Hopefully. I haven’t yet tried to tackle this while having to take care of two whole babies all day long who never nap at the same time).

4. Weekdays can be tricky, what with work and family and spouses and blah-di-blah-di-blah, so front- and back-load on the weekends. In our house, we call the weekend days “Dadder-day” and “Sun-dad,” which means Dad gets to take care of Murray for as long as I need to be away from the young’n writing or planning or watching Grey’s or whatever.

5. Have a reward in mind. Sure, finishing the first draft of a manuscript could (maybe SHOULD) be reward enough, but if the thought of a new Coach purse waiting for you at the end of the journey keeps you going, then so be it.

6. Don’t forget to read. I always find that I write better when I take time to read for pleasure.  It’s not a waste of time, it’s honing your craft.  And it’s oh-so-much more worth your time and brain cells than watching Tyra make a mockery of racial sensitivity.

What are your writing tips?

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1 Comment »

  1. […] learned some new things about my main character today, which is pretty impressive considering I’ve been working with him for about nine years now.  I’ve always liked this story, but I’m really enjoying the freedom of having so much […]


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