Pen at the ready. And... GO! (Annastan)
Congratulations! You’ve decided to take on the challenge of NaNoWriMo, good for you! Right now, you’re probably either deciding which outline to use or you forgot that you agreed to participate in NaNo and are now running around the room flipping furniture over to find a pen and some paper.
If you’re in the latter category, go ahead and take care of that first. I can wait.
All better? Good. I am here today to offer you a point of view that worked for me for generating ideas and what goals I set for myself that you could use over November’s long stretch. I offer the disclaimer that my results are not typical and you may not see the same results doing anything I am about to offer.
Your goals should be:
· 1. Finish with more than the average word count a day (1667 words)
o This gives you a sense of accomplishment and will also shave days off your projected finish date.
o You will feel better when you take a break from it knowing you did more
o The opposite sex adores an overachiever*
· 2. Write in the morning and at night, at least 1000 words for each
o Musashi said it best, “Any man who wants to master the essence of my strategy must research diligently, training morning and evening. Thus can he polish his skill, become free from self, and realize extraordinary ability. He will come to possess miraculous power.”**
o Do you really want to argue with a man who wielded two katana? No.
· 3. Take a break, use a timer
o Not only will a timer give you a reference on your patterns and behavior, but you can use the timer intervals to reward yourself.
o In three hours I can write 2000 words with five minute breaks between segments, which means 500 words in 25 minutes. Use a mental rabbit to keep pace. See if you can do more.
o Use your five minute breaks to move. Stretch. Walk. Pace. Do not stay at your computer.
· 4. Take a break, stop Tweeting/Facebooking/YouTubing
o Yes, unless you have mastered the skill of “wording” well, you will fall behind with distractions. Use social media as a reward as well. Tell us about your word count after you have finished your goal for the morning or the day.
5. Idea Generation should be:
· Listen to your characters
o I have no idea generation tips that override this one. I could say read newspapers, cuddle a puppy, eat chocolate ice cream until you puke, whatever. You have a character speaking to you in your head. They want to tell you their story. Let them. Sure, you might seem crazy, but writing is crazy and it’s filled with crazies like me. Some of us even give you sparkly balloons and pre-licked churros for your efforts.***
With these steps in mind along with your soul and body centered, you will carve your way past this obstacle and make everyone proud you took the NaNo challenge. Remember, even if you don’t complete the 50,000 words, you made the attempt and it will propel you to better things later in your writing life.
*- The opposite sex does not always appreciate an overachiever.
**- Quote provided by MiyamotoMusashi.com. If you’ve never read the Book of Five Rings and you are a writer, do so now. Translate the fighting techniques to writing techniques. It will make sense.
***- The pre-licked churros are a myth. This was a clandestine, black budget, covert-ops shout out to a fellow writer. The sparkly balloons are not a myth. Told you we are crazy.
Do YOU have a checklist for November? What helps you go through the madness?
Leif G.S. Notae (also known as LeiffyV and @Vignirsson) is a hobby writer of short stories, flash and micro fiction along with dark poetry. He has self-published three novelette ebooks, "Wasteland Ghost",”Lost Hope” and “The Wicked Cat: Voyage (First Arc)” all in September 2011. He was published in Six Minute Magazine under his real name as well as local magazines and newspapers in the Santa Cruz area. He maintains daily entries in his blog while working with green technology in the county.