NaNoGameOn: Time To Limber Up (A follow up to NaNoDreamOn)

https://i0.wp.com/foter.com/img/photo/92/strobist-cto-exercise-2_l.jpg
(this isn’t me either, it’s a bloke limbering up)
Photo credit: Sami Taipale / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Wow! I got Freshly Pressed! That was  pretty intense for a while. I think I had 1200 hits in just over 28 hours – and yes I did stay up all night to watch the comments flowing into my inbox.  I know it’s a little sad but I’ve never been popular before (aaahhh!) so I thought I’d milk it.

I’m still not sure how it happened, it was only my third or fourth blog. I’d love to say it was my amazing writing skills, but I have a feeling it was down to luck, timing, a picture of a pretty girl showing her petticoat (sorry, that wasn’t me, I don’t wear skirts let alone petticoats), and a very nice lady called Michelle from the WordPress Editing team.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who followed me and commented during the last couple of days. Although I may hate you all come December, because it’s your fault I’m going ahead with this madcap NaNoWriMo thing! Which brings me to the point of this blog: I thought I’d share the best of the tips and tricks people sent me (plus a couple of my own suggestions). So if you’re doing NaNo this year, I hope some of this will be useful:

1. My favourite tip is from Ursa Bowers: she suggests you break your day’s writing into three 45 minute chunks – 800 words per chunk. This way anyone can fit NaNo in, even if (like me) you have a job, a husband, some children, a mother-in-law and a dog. Thank you, Ursa!

2. According to Matt_S_Law, NaNo should take precedence over everything. His pearl of wisdom is: don’t bathe.

3. From JackieP: Don’t try to edit, just write write write.

4. This one’s my own, I first mentioned it in a comment on Linda Thorlakson’s blog:  Don’t stop to research, instead write it into your story, and pick it up in December. For instance:

“It’s like 1076 and the Battle of Hastings,” said Harry.

“Are you sure that’s the right date?” asked Jellyhead

“No, but this is NaNoWriMo and the author has better things to do than worry about petty details right now. Don’t worry though, she’ll find this note in December and sort it all out then (although a decent education would have saved her the bother).”

“Fair point, Harry. While she’s at it, do you think she might take some time to reconsider her decision to call me Jellyhead Wobblebonce? I really don’t think it suits me.”

etc.

This way you avoid the ‘I must research this’ trap and increase your word count at the same time!

5. Send your family on holiday. This one backfired on me a little. They have gone on holiday, all of them – even the mother in law and the dog –  but they’ve decided to come back early. On Thursday. Yes, Thursday 1st November.

6. The final tip is: Limber up – don’t spend the rest of October on the internet or reading boring blogs like this. Get writing! That’s what I’m doing – honest! I just wrote 590 words in 30 minutes!* Admittedly most of it’s rubbish and the rest was written by other people, but it’s nearly November which means it’s all about the word count.

https://i0.wp.com/foter.com/img/photo/67/yoga-girl_l.jpg
Photo credit: prashant_zi / Foter / CC BY-NC

I’m elappleby on NaNoWriMo, feel free to share your NaNoName here, or come and find me on the NaNo site and be my buddy (I don’t actually know what that means but I’m assuming it’s friendly  – we don’t have ‘buddies’ in England, we have ‘mates’ – unless we’re posh in which case we have ‘acquaintances’.)

*(OK – I confess – it may have taken only 30 minutes to write but it was at least another hour to get it ready to publish!)

NaNoDreamOn: how am I ever going to write 50,000 words in 30 days?

https://i2.wp.com/foter.com/img/photo/92/dont-leave-me_l.jpg
Photo credit: ClaraDon / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

After months of anticipation, it’s almost time. I’m wiping my feet on the Welcome mat outside the door to the NaNoWriMo House of Fun. So, why do I have a sudden urge to pick up my petticoats and run as fast as I can in the opposite direction?

Here’s my five stages of NaNoWriMo:

  1. CURIOSITY: 50,000 words in a month? Sounds intriguing. I wonder if I could do that? How does it work? Where do I sign up? Do I get a prize (shameless reward-seeker that I am)?
  2. RESEARCH: Questions, yay! That means research, and that means many mindless hours browsing the internet. My fave occupation.
  3. EXCITEMENT: I think I can actually do this! I may even write the greatest novel of all time. I’ll win awards and buy a big house and a chauffeur.
  4. PLANNING: Time to get ready. I can’t just expect to go into this completely blind (pumped as I am with an unrealistic belief in NaNo’s ability to spin my words into gold). I need characters, settings, story arcs. I need an idea. I litter the floor with scraps, scribbling, post-its. I’m ready. I’m so ready.
  5. THE FEAR, or rather the sheer blind panic. Why did I ever think I could do this? 1,666 words a day? Every day? For a whole month? Am I deluded? I’m a short story writer, I don’t even do novels. As they say in comic-land, aaaaAAARRRGGH!

And that’s where I am now, Stage Five. I’m hoping there’s a Stage Six or a fast track back to Stage Three (I really enjoyed that one), but for now I’m just going to crawl back under the duvet of despair and hibernate.

Wake me up when it’s December.

https://i1.wp.com/foter.com/img/photo/92/indifference-is-the-opposite-of-love_l.jpg
Photo credit: Miss Jo|我是周小姐 / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND