So, I dicided to tend the nanowrimo, (National Novel Writing Month) this july, and I FAILED, big time! I didn’t type one single word in my new novel; TDOW; Thirteen Days of Winter.
So, hopefully I can help you guys out, so you don’t make the same mistakes as I did.
My intentions were good, but my planning were terrible.
I got it into my mind, that I could prepare for nanowrimo, even though I had my fulltime-job, going into a busy time. And like I said, I didn’t get anything down on “the paper”. The first two days going into NaNo, I had tried to plan it all out in my calender, but still everything was messed up. And here’s why;
I only had the idea in my head, and I didn’t even start the outlining in time, so I had to go with that to begin with, and this project was the first in a very long time, where I had to start from scratch! So half-way through NANO, I had to call quits, I knew that I couldn’t possibly finish 50k words in two weeks, with my day job on the side, so I decided to quit, and focus on TMP instead, because I also had that on the side, with deadlines, and a publication date; July 27th.
Now I am claiming my revenge!
This time I will attempt NANOWRIMO and be prapared for battle.
Here’s 10 tips I would use this time around.
1; Plan, Plan and Plan.
Okay, if you look at it like a total geek, that was technically three advice. But, like I said; PLAN! I decided that I would plan out almost everything I could this time. That said, you can’t plan out everything, but if you get the essentiels down, you’re on the right track.
2; The outlining.
I gave myself the task, I had to write 500 words per day, you can make that more or less, depending on how much time you have on your hands. I decided on 500 words, because I was sure, that was something I could deal with, and get the outlining done in time for the beginning of November 1th.
I scribbled down a bunch of helpful words in the horror genre, putting them in my cheat-sheet. And as I scribble down, ideas started popping into my head, and I try my best typing down any idea I might get. And in a few hours, I came up with names of characters, age, profession and place in the story. So, always type down, any idea you might have, because it might be useful, on the long run!
4; What Could Go Wrong?
In case of an emergency, what are you gonna do if your mind goes blank or your ideas stop?! Well, it’s actually pretty simple.
As you are doing the outlining, you have basically your entire story planed out from the Get Go. So, if you get blocked, you just hop onto your outlining, and see what’s next on the program. If you get totally stuck still, you can try to move on and add new ideas to the next part in your story. It is your story, and your idea, you can always go back and change or edit. Remember you are creating a First Draft with Nanowrimo, not the finished product.
When beginning a story, I come up with some of the ideas, and then I research like a crazy person. For TMP, I used a lot of time on researching Greek Mythology, and Ancient Relics, Latin and the list goes on.
Research gives you a more professional approach as a writer, of course as a writer you can always make up stuff, that is kind of the whole idea of being a writer, but if you want to stand out as a Pro and not an Amature, you simply need to do your research.
Checking into everything you use from Mythology to the description of rain falling down, because you want your work to stand out as being as realistic as in real life, so your readers can relate to what is going on.
Example; In my stories I use the character Hades, the ruler of the underworld, and basically anybody in the world knows that Hades is a bad guy, so in my research I searched for things Hades was known for, always making things mentioned about him circle back to something you could find in the actual history. If you use a “Real Life” fact about Hades, you damn sure need to be certain that it’s actually the way it is, or your readers will lose faith in you. If you say that Hades, the ruler of the underworld could shoot rainbows out of his hands, you would have a hard time placing that fact, if you were making a comic book, or being sarcastic it might fall through, but if you make a dead serious scene about who Hades is, and what he stands for, you are gonna have a hard time, convincing your readers about that fact. So, research, and use your common sense!
6; Use a planner or a Bullet Journal.
If you use your journal, to write down your goals for the week, you can easily keep up with everything. What I do, is that I write down 500words under the days in the calender, and then at the of the week, I write the total goal of the words, so then if I get behind, missing a day, or two, or maybe an entire week. I know how many words I have missed out on. So, if I miss one day, I try to keep up with it, the next days. And if I acheived my daily goal, I give myself a (+) and If I didn’t I will place a (-).
7; Make Sure!
Once You Enter the NANOWRIMO make sure you have your dealine goals in order. Deviding those 50k words into all the days of the month, except from a few days off, and especially Thanksgiving. So, 30 days minus the days you wanna take-off; in my case one day in each weekend, plus thanksgiving, so 25 days divided with 50k. Becomes 2000words a day, which might seem like a lot, and it is. But so is 50.000 that’s kind of the point with NANO, to test yourself, and your ability to type as many words as possible.
8; Not All Good.
Not everything you write needs to be good, or even perfect. The point is to type those words, good or bad, that doesn’t really matter! The goal is to push yourself, and push your boundaries, and believe you me, you are capable of much more then you think! I didn’t really believe that I could finish an entire book; 106.644 words in five months, but I planned my daily wordcount, and stuck with my planning, and finished my deadline on the dime.
And not all words were good, far from that. And that’s why it’s called Draft, and then we rewrite, reshape and edit the hell out of it, until it becomes everything we wanted it to be.
In my opinion we use NANO to create our stories, and evolve the ideas in our minds, drafting the story of your dreams.
9; Ask Yourself?
Going into the writing world, becoming that writer I always wanted to be, I discovered that with writing abilities, comes the sneaking and devastating doubt. But, once you conquer that, and try to believe in your work, going from amature to a pro there’s no stopping you. There isn’t any writer/author in the world who haven’t experienced the great doubt. I bet even J.K. Rowling and L.J. Smith doubted themselves at some point in their lives, and maybe sometimes they still do. Create a quote or find something that if in doubt, can bring you back to the right path. I created a quote of my own:
“I guess you are a writer, when your mind and thoughts are in narrative speech.” – Maria E. L. Thomassen.
Reading this I am brought back to a time were I truly believed in myself, and if that doesn’t help. I read some of the work that surprised me the most, and play encouraging songs. Flooding it all back.
Here’s a little secret; you will probably always love your work, more than anyone else, and the thing is, not everybody will love your book, or ideas… And the biggest win to you, is to say; That’s Okay! You will find people who will love your work. And if you are like me, you will keep doubting yourself, until finally one day, this reader will provide you with a book review so strong and exciting and all your belief will be flooding back to you, and once reviews keep coming, and they are kind of saying the same thing about the story and the characters, you know that you are one the right path, and doing the HELL of a job, So KEEP GOING!
10; Simply Do It!
My best and final advice, is simply to attempt to do the best you can.
If you like me FAILED BIG AND HARD, comfort yourself with the fact, that NANOWRIMO isn’t a one time thing. It will happen again, so you will always have a second chance.
So, just prepare and just do it, and eventually everything will turn out great!
You Can Do It!