NaNoWriMo · Novel Writing

How to Win Camp NaNoWriMo

Can you feel it? The prickle of tension on your skin, the butterflies waking up in your stomach? I can, and it only means one thing. Camp NaNoWriMo approaches.

Let the writing begin.

Camp NaNoWriMo July 2017 starts in FIVE days! Are you ready?

Here are some of the things I’m doing before it starts to prepare myself.

Catching up on sleep – I know I will have to sacrifice sleep to win this, so before the month begins I’m resting as much as I can.

Practising a daily writing habit – I try to write most days, but life gets in the way, and once or twice a week I can’t manage it. It’s no big deal, and I don’t beat myself up about it. However, in the days leading up to NaNo, I make sure not to miss any writing sessions. I need my writing muscles at full strength.

Planning out all my scenes – I know exactly what I am going to write, which character is going to do what, and where my story is going. Even at five in the morning, my sleepy brain will have a full set of writing instructions. Writer’s block will not stop me.

Organising my word count – I’m on holiday on the second week of July, and I don’t plan on writing on those days unless I really, really want to. Therefore, I need to up my word count the rest of the month. I know I need to hit 2,500 words a day to win, with a little wiggle room built in.

Leaving room for failure – with a word count of 2500 a day, I can fail some days and not miss the mark. I’m planning to shoot for the stars and if I miss them, at least I’ll have reached the moon.

Do you have any helpful NaNoWriMo preparation tips that you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you. 

NaNoWriMo · Novel Writing

July 2017 – Camp NaNoWriMo

It is precisely a month until Camp NaNoWriMo July 2017. The fear and excitement are starting to kick in. Are you ready? Is anyone else gearing themselves up for the rollercoaster ride of late nights, early mornings and word counts?

I failed NaNoWriMo in November 2016 (you can read all about it here) because I grievously underestimated the dedication required. No experience is a wasted experience, however, and I learnt some valuable lessons that stuck with me. Here are a few I thought I’d share with you all.

Schedule Time to Write

Do not imagine that the joy of writing will push you through to reach your word count. You need to set aside dedicated time to write and stick to it. Writing 50,000 words in a month is TOUGH, you need to grit your teeth, make a plan and stick to it.

Use the 10x Rule

In his recent book The 10x Rule, Grant Cardone explains how success comes from putting in 10x the effort you would expect to put in to get average results. Now, I’m not expecting you to write 500,000 words, that would be ridiculous. We can apply a similar principle, however, and aim for a higher word count than we need.

To succeed at NaNoWriMo, you need to average a word count of 1667 a day. In light of the 10x rule, we could aim to hit 2,000 words a day. That way, when we miss our target, which we will, we are still on track to hit the word count.

Plan Ahead

One of the reasons I failed NaNoWriMo is because I didn’t have a robust outline, which I need in order to write a lot each day. Some people are pansters, and oh, how I envy them. Most of us, however, need to spend time thinking and planning about our scenes before we write them. For advice on planning out detailed scenes, this is a helpful article.

Be kind to yourself

Don’t worry if you don’t hit the goal. Although the words “winning” and “losing” are often used when talking about NaNoWriMo, if you think about it, we are all winners. If you “fail” then you’ve still written a large number of words, learnt about your writing process and have moved your WIP forward. Even a failed NaNoWriMo is actually a win!

 

 

NaNoWriMo · Novel Writing

I failed NaNoWriMo

I failed NaNoWriMo. I wonder how many people are in the same boat as me. For those of you who completed NaNoWriMo, congratulations! What an incredible achievement. For many people, the draw of NaNoWriMo comes because it is such a challenge to actually complete. Writing 50,000 words in the month of November is a huge feat of endurance, inspiration and dedication.
Does this mean that if we have failed the challenge that we have no hope of becoming published authors? Does it mean that we do not have what it takes? No. I will say it again, no, it does not. It only means we couldn’t, at that particular stage in our novels, write tens of thousands of words in a month.
I, myself, reached 43,000 words before I gave up with a few days left in the contest. I chose not to finish for one simple reason. I didn’t like what I was writing. My descriptions were generic and boring, I had long ago decided to change my point of view, and I was merely getting down words. I stopped enjoying what I was writing because I have so much left to learn. I am not ready to write thousands of words a day because I am still learning how to write a few words well.
Possibly next year, or the year after, I might be ready, but then again I might not. I’m not going to give myself a hard time for this because I learnt so much about how I work as a writer in the process. If you have also “failed” NaNoWriMo I would say to you that it isn’t that important. Is it a fantastic achievement to have made? Yes, undoubtedly. Is it a necessary step to becoming an accomplished writer? I don’t think so. For anyone else out there who is feeling down in the dumps about the NaNoWriMo, I hope this post helps you to see that what really counts in learning to write, is to keep on keeping on and not giving up, for a lifetime and not a month.
Novel Writing

NaNoWriMo – Week 1

So far I have written 7,956 words in my NaNoWriMo challenge and my total novel word count is now 15,386 words. I am incredibly proud of myself, I really thought I would have given up on NaNoWriMo by now!

I am actually behind on the targets NaNoWriMo set as I should be at about 10,000 words in by now, but I won’t be too hard on myself. Any words written are an achievement and if I manage to write 50,000 words in November that will be awesome. If not, that’s ok too.

Anyone else giving it a go? If you can tear yourselves away from the novel writing keyboard long enough I would love to hear how it’s going.

Novel Writing

NaNoWriMo – Free Novlr Trial

As I am sure many of you know, National Novel Writing Month starts tomorrow! I will be taking part in the challenge of writing 50,000 words in the month of November and I wanted to let you all know about some great online software that is free to use in the month of November in honor of NaNoWriMo.

Novlr is a web-based application where you can store and write your novel. You can write both online and offline, on multiple computers without the need to download software. The statistics provided by Novlr are excellent; it shows your current word count while also tracking how many words you physically wrote in that session (i.e., how many words you wrote and then edited or deleted). It is a lovely, seamless platform to write on and during my first two-week trial I really enjoyed the look and feel of the system. untitledHowever, when it came to actually paying for the software, I decided to give it a miss as I found that server issues regularly prevented me from logging on and writing. As annoying as those server issues were I couldn’t resist giving Novlr another go because in my opinion as a writing and statistics geek extraordinaire it is the best the web has to offer!

If you fancy having a go at NaNoWriMo and have been looking for some novel writing software don’t miss your chance to try out Novlr. P.s. it is worth mentioning I have not been asked to write this by Novlr and this purely my own opinion.