How to Survive NaNoWriMo

by Cindy Tomamichel

Adventures in Nano Land

We live in a world full of acronyms, some sound mysterious and interesting and turn out to be accounting shorthand. Others – like Nano – are simple and elegant, yet hidden behind those four letters is a world of mystery, imagination and creative frenzy. Once you know what Nano stands for, your life will never be the same again. Every October, the whisper will rise nano – nano is coming. Will you answer the call?

Ok, I might be exaggerating a little bit. Nano is National Write a Novel in November, often NaNoWriMo, with participants being wrimos. Entry to this experience can be found at https://nanowrimo.org/  where you can login and explore.

So what is it? Basically, the idea is to sign up and write 1,667 words a day for the month of November – every day. This gives you 50,000 words in a month. There is no compulsion, no punishment for not finishing, and you write it on your own software.

To become a wrimo:

  • Register and pick a login name etc, then you can add your book details after October. From now on you are part of the Nano family, and receive pep talk emails, you can make buddies and join in the forums which are fantastic resources. Continue reading…

Prepping for the Nanopocalypse

So, you have taken your courage in both hands and signed up for Nano – congratulations! I have done it a few times now, so I thought I might share some tips on how to prepare for the month and keep your partner and your sanity.

For your partner and family

Nano is all about you – or at least you will have such an intense relationship with your novel writing that other people seem to fade away. This is probably not great for your relationship, and it can be quite boring to listen to as well.

To avoid getting things thrown at you, or hearing the door slam and wondering why, make sure you break up your writing with family time, and talk about things other than your book. Do some housework, cook, or contribute in some way. 1,667 words a day can be squeezed into commute time, early morning or late evening or lunch breaks without huge disruptions to family life. The time taken by social media or TV is an ideal swap for writing time.

If you are in the position where someone you know is doing Nano, you may well be familiar with the vacant gaze into space when creation is happening, or the lost conversation as a side thought hits them. You have my sympathy! For November, they are following a dream, and provision of coffee/tea/snacks and scrap paper is helpful. Of course, don’t pander to the grumpy writer, this is a stereotype that no one needs to continue. Do take this as an opportunity to slack off on the housework and do nice things for yourself as they won’t notice.

Housework

Even dreamers must eat, and no one wants to wake up in December to a house that looks like it needs to be condemned! Continue reading…

 

So November has rocked around, and Nano has started. Grab your snacks, coffee and keyboard and write. There you go – November has finished and you have a novel. Simple, isn’t it?

Well, it tends to be a long month, and most wrimos go through a few stages.

Day 1 (1,667 words)

Either blind panic, or oh, look I have written 3,000 words. This is just impossible / so easy. Neither of these states last.

Day 7 (11,669- words, dude)

You will be in a routine by now and feeling ok. Make sure you keep up the daily exercise, and say nice things to your family. They are sick of your novel by now.

Back up your work.

Day 15 (25,005 half way)

Despair may set in at this point for a number of reasons.

  • You hate what you have written. We all do. Plug on and don’t listen to yourself, and do not edit.
  • You have run out of ideas. This happen too- take a walk, a break, or check the Nano forums for prompts and ideas. At this stage the travelling shovel of death or a team of ninjas may need to appear. At the very least they will be entertaining to write, and remember you are allowed to edit after November.
  • You are so far behind you will never catch up. This happens too. You can try a ‘Night of Writing Dangerously’ Nano event, or change your location to a café or library. Ask yourself why as well, you may be able to overcome the problem by stepping away from the panic.

Back up your work again. Be nice to your family – they hate your novel by now.  Continue reading …

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