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So You’re Doing NaNoWriMo!

And right about now, you might be wondering what exactly you’ve signed yourself up for. I won’t lie – November is going to be hard. Especially if this is your first time. Even if it isn’t your first time, it’s still going to be hard, but you do at least have an idea of what to expect. So here’s an overview of how it’s going to go.

NaNoWriMo (participant banner 2015)

The first day, and the next few days, are fantastic. (Unless you have absolutely no idea what you’re writing about, of course, and then they might be like pulling teeth. But you will hit your stride quickly.) Take advantage of your launching point to get a buffer of words in – even if it’s just 500 of them.

After the first few days, your momentum will likely slow down to a reasonable, sustainable pace. Sure, you’re going to have slower days and faster days as you reach certain parts of your story, but you’ll find a rhythm.

2013 Winner TshirtThen, at some point, you’re going to hit The Dreaded Day when the Universe conspires against you and your novel. You will not have time to write until you are utterly worn out and uninspired. (The entirety of NaNo 2013 was this day over and over again for me as I watched my childhood cat succumb to kidney failure despite successful treatments. I still wrote 50k that month.)

You will have to make The Decision: do you write anyway, or do you wait for the next day? I will say this: it is harder to start writing again after taking a day off. Not impossible, just harder. If you have a buffer, you can write five, ten, fifty words. Just to say you wrote. I bet you’ll write more than that once you get started, though. But you’ll have to make that Decision yourself based on what’s going on in your life.

Slowly, the Real World will try to seduce you back to what’s commonly referred to as The Land of the Living.

Don’t fall for it.

NaNo Participant 2014Those of you outside the US will have an advantage – no Thanksgiving holiday. Those of us ‘stuck’ with Thanksgiving, well, who cares if the turkey burns? Just don’t burn the house down with it, because you might lose your novel. 😉

If you have time off from work for the holiday, definitely take advantage of that to get ahead. Or caught up. Or, well, to plain old not fall behind further. At this point, you’re in the home stretch! You’ve either already hit 50k, or it’s so close you can taste it (tastes a bit like ink, perhaps), or you’ve fallen hopelessly behind. Don’t stop writing yet! You never know what may happen.

P.S. Always back up your novel! Preferably multiple times.

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4 Comments

  1. Kyle says:

    Great advice. What is everyone’s preferred method of backup? I save all of my work in a special Dropbox folder as well as downloading it all to my phone every few weeks. I also have a pair of flash drives, one on my keychain and one in a stylus pen, that I back things up to every few months. I know it sounds like overkill, but I’ve lost a good amount of work before from not backing up consistently.

    • Personally, I like Dropbox a lot. I also will email myself copies of my novel intermittently, just in case something on Dropbox gets corrupted. Flash drives don’t work well for me, personally, because I’m prone to setting them down and forgetting them.

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  3. JazzFeathers says:

    Well, I remember Rebekah did an awsome 10.000 words day on the last day… when was it? Last year? And won. So you’re really never out of the game… unless you decide so.

    Great article, Rebekah. That’s exactly how NaNo is 😉

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