It’s November 1st, start of NaNoWriMo 2016, or National Novel Writing Month 2016, if you prefer.
I’ll be publishing tips here on the ol’ freelance writing blog, even though novel writing isn’t really a typical freelance writing gig.
NaNoWriMo Tip #1
Your first tip is GO WRITE!
What are you even doing here? It’s the first day. You’ve been prepping for NaNoWriMo for a least a little while. Now is the time to be writing, not reading about writing. If you don’t have the motivation to write today, that’s fine. Motivation comes and goes, but consistent work does not.
On the first day, most people have some motivation, so what other problems might you be having?
- I don’t know how to write the beginning page – Skip it! Write the middle. Write the end. Write that favorite scene where everyone is sitting around the dinging table and a sinkhole opens up and swallows them all, right in the middle of the reconciliation with Grandpa… or you know, whatever the scene is in your novel. Writing doesn’t have to be linear.
- I don’t want to mess it up – Banish your inner critic (and any external critics you might have laying around as well). You are writing a first draft. More than that, you are speed writing a first draft. By definition, what you crank out over the next 30 days will not be perfect. Perfect is not the goal. Finishing is the goal. You can edit, second guess, and wring your hands over that subplot in December.
- I need to do research – Too late! Research time was October. Still need to research. No problem, but that doesn’t mean you can’t write today. Not everything in your novel needs researched. Not that scene between friends at IHOP. Not the dragon attack in Chapter 13. No matter what your novel is, or how fact-based, there are parts that are not historical record. If I’m wrong, then you aren’t writing a novel, you’re writing a history book, and that’s a different thing.
- I’m tired. I’m hungover. Halloween was yesterday – Brew some coffee. While it is brewing, start writing. Seriously. Type to soothing sound of dripping liquid. It doesn’t get any easier this month. You will always be tired, or busy, or stressed, or maybe a little sick. And, Thanksgiving is coming. It’s time to deal. Face every day of writing like it’s a final exam with that kind of professor that doesn’t give make ups.
- What If I’m Not Good Enough? – None of us are. When you win a Pulitzer Prize, or hit the New York Times Best Seller list THEN, and only then, will it feel like you are a real writer. But, to get there, you have to write as a “fake writer” first. Everyone feels like this. Ignore it. The greatness inside of you has to be found. To find it, you have to go looking. Writing this draft is how you look for it. – BTW, it’s called imposter syndrome and it’s a huge deal with writers. Google it AFTER YOU FINISH YOUR WORDS FOR TODAY.
Now, go get to writing. Don’t let anything stop you today.
Seriously, if you haven’t already written 1,000 words yet, close your browser and start writing.
And, Happy NaNoWriMo to all!