So when I finally got the nerve to sign-up in 2009, I thought it would be a piece of cake. I mean, I had been a columnist, and I had already completed my master's thesis. All I had to do was fire up the laptop and pound away at the keys every night for 30 nights until I reached 50,000 words or more. What could be easier?
Little did I know what I was getting myself into. I kind of had a plot, so I thought I was ready to go. That first year in 2009, I had signed up a few days late, which is perfectly fine and since I was highly motivated I thought I could very quickly make up for lost time. Unfortunately, I just as quickly found out that "No plot? No problem!" was indeed a problem for me. I'm embarrassed to say that I got stuck after only about 400 words. It was writer's block at its finest.
You, dear reader, might be laughing at this point or maybe you are sympathizing. I take full responsibility for my failure. Either way you can learn from my mistakes. Here are a few simple things you can do to make the NaNoWriMo experience a success:
- Sign up early. Get to know the site and how it works.
- Have an outline. It doesn't need to be detailed, but obviously the more detail the better.
- Designate a time and a place to write every day. Keep to a schedule if possible.
- Stock your writing place with everything you need: paper, pens, pencils, snacks, music, etc.
- Go ahead and put up that "Do Not Disturb" sign; it's OK...really.
- When in doubt write about scenery or fill in details about your characters.
- There is no rule that says you have to write your scenes in order. Pick which ever scene strikes your fancy that day and write to your heart's content.
- Resist the temptation to check your email or play with your smartphone.
- Give yourself permission to take breaks.
- Try writing in short bursts like 30 minutes at a time or 750 words at a time.
- Write with a group; find a write-in near you.
- Ignore those typos.
- Remember...there's no editing. You will have time for that after the holidays.
- And finally...don't procrastinate. Just do it!
Good Luck to all participants in NaNoWriMo 2011 !!!