Hello, people! We’re already in the second week of November. Yes, it’s NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). This is the time of the year when myriads of budding writers around the world set out to write at least 50K words in a month. It sounds daunting, and it is…for a beginner. I wonder how many writers give up before the month is over.
Writing a complete book is an exhilarating experience. I speak from…well, you know. I’ve written three books so far, and will write several more. It never gets ‘easier’, but I greatly enjoy what I do. I’m not participating in NaNoWriMo, as I’ve been writing for almost the entirety of this year so far. At the end of last month, I finished a new book and have now put it aside. I’ll start revising it in December.
If you have decided to take on the NaNoWriMo challenge, you may be starting to ask yourself what you truly signed up for. It will be very hard for you to succeed if you don’t like to write (Were you one of those students in college who went like, “Another essay!”?). You should at least like reading. If you find you aren’t really keeping up because you keep being distracted, here are a few tips:
1. Find a quiet place in your home and write there, unless you live alone and there’s no one around to disturb you. If you live with other people, let them know what you’re doing and ask them to respect whatever hours you’ve set aside for writing. No music (unless you like it), no TV. And don’t forget to keep your dogs fed if you don’t want their bark to distract you.
2. Use whatever method you find easier or best suits you. Most people today write on their laptop, because it’s easy and convenient. But you may find that you prefer the old-fashioned pen-and-paper method, or even a typewriter. Anything goes as long as you can pull off 50K words.
3. Shut up your inner editor. You won’t get to your goal if you keep going back and changing stuff. Just keep the words flowing, no matter what. The first draft isn’t meant to be all sparkly and spotless. Writers seldom show anyone the first draft of any book they write.
4. Whatever quiet place you’ve found to write, make sure it’s comfortable. You don’t want to end up feeling stiff at the end of each session. While the bed sounds like a good idea, I don’t recommend it. Go for a sofa chair instead if you want somewhere soft to sit on.
5. If you’re using a computer, you may need a way to avoid getting disturbed by random notifications or the compulsion to waste time online. I’ve written a post on the best software for writers, but if you need good distraction-free software, there are plenty of choices. FocusWriter is one of the most well-known, and it’s available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. It is also free. A similar program is Q10. It’s free, but only available on Windows, and it was developed by a fiction writer. If you like to have background music playing, you can download TextRoom. It’s available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, and it’s free.
These tips should help you to continue on your goal. Also, keep in mind that burning yourself out is not a good idea. Beginning writers may need up to three hours each day to get to 50,000 words in a month. To avoid tiring yourself, you can do one hour in the morning, another in the afternoon, and the last during the evening. If you would like more tips, check out the links below.