Strategies for NaNoWriMo

Holy cow, is it November again?

Yes, I am again participating in NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, even though I have been waist-deep in an edit/re-write and have a hundred other items on my list of things to do.

Why, do you ask, would I NaNo? Well, the main reason is I’m lazy the other eleven months of the year. I need November’s NaNoWriMo to kick my ass.

I know, I know, I could levy a self-imposed deadline such as NaNo’s race to complete 50K words in thirty days any other time – let’s say in February or September – but I have little willpower. Plus I am easily distracted.

In order to cross the 50K finish line this year, I’m going to take some pretty severe actions. Here they are in no particular order:

1. Get off Facebook. Should be easy, especially since the recent Facebook upgrade, which made visiting there and hanging out a major pain in the butt. Plus, it seems that every time I sign in, some bug locks up my computer. Another good reason to stay away.

2. Minimize Twitter. That used to be easy until I got an HTC EVO phone. Looking at tweets is entirely too simple these days. I know, I’ll turn off my phone!

3. Stop wasting time with meals and meal preparation. I see a lot of ramen noodles, tuna fish and take out in my immediate future.

4. Get up early. I need to do this to complete my Real Life chores, but with the extended Daylight Savings Time and my oncoming SAD, I’m finding that difficult. It’s still freaking dark at 7:30! Perhaps next Sunday when it will FINALLY be Daylight Savings Time, I will be able to report myself in better humor.

5. Suspend working on my re-write. This will be tough, but necessary. It’s good to put a little distance, particularly since I’ve been at it full bore since the end of August. I have a feeling the 30 day vacation will yield positive results.

6. Use Write or Die. This is the ultimate cattle prod for reluctant writers. If you’re a procrastinator with ADD tendencies, I would strongly recommend this program. Using it I’ve whipped up a thousand words in twenty minutes or less.

6a. Download Write or Die on every computer you use. That’s right, even the work computer. Once you pay $10 for the computer version (the online version is free), your payment entitles you to unlimited downloads of Write or Die. Two words: Do it!

7. I’m also going to join the local NaNo group. There’s nothing like a community flogging to get your butt in gear. Reach out to other writers who plan on marathoning this month.

As for the mechanics of NaNoWriMo (or the mechanics of writing any novel, period), try making it easy on yourself. Here are some things the fledgling writer can think about while dreaming of penning the next breakout novel:

1. Have a plan. For real. A novel must have three things: a beginning, a middle and an end. Without those three things, you don’t have a story, you have stream of consciousness writing. There’s nothing wrong with streaming – actually, my first NaNoWriMo effort was a unruly stream that resulted in the completion of my first novel. Streaming may give you ideas for story lines, but if the goal is writing a book, don’t forget the beginning, middle and end.

2. Outline. This is hard for me, and I never did it before, but it makes perfect sense. Most people don’t jump into the car and drive away without a road map, they have a map and money for gas to get them to their destination. Figure out before you sit down at the computer where your characters are going and how they’re going to get there.

3. Write everywhere. Give yourself the luxury of little notebooks for those times you’re not close to the computer/typewriter/notepad.  Use your iPad. Since my story includes a blog, I have set up my fictional blog online, and plan on contributing to it every day this month. Hey, what can I say? Words are words.

My goal is to get ‘er done, peeps.

This year’s effort is the sequel to VIRTUALLY YOURS, yet unnamed (so far referred to as VY2). And yes, I have a game plan, story lines, unknowns, and the requisite Big Reveal toward the end of the story.

It’s early (7:31 a.m.) but I have to get on the move. See you in December.