Wednesday, October 31, 2012

NaNoWriMo: tips for a quick first draft.

Here's a post from Rachelle Gardner with four tips for writing a fast first draft. 

I suspect my biggest struggles are going to be not editing as I go along, and finding uninterrupted stretches of time in which to write. How about you?

I'm nervous, you guys. Give me a pep talk in the comments section.


Unknown said...

Honestly, this biggest thing is to have fun with it. Once you're not worried about trying to get published, or who might see it, the writing comes easier.

I always give myself permission to be silly with my NaNo books and to not worry about what the end result will be. It's surprisingly liberating. :)

Kara said...

You'd be amazed at the wonderful things you can come up with if you're not afraid to suck :). NaNo is all about words and making a commitment to yourself. You can do this! We'll all be here, cheering you on! So that's the gist of my pep talk: don't be afraid to suck :D.

Jessica Brockmole said...

Honestly (at least in my experience) the temptation to self-edit becomes a non-problem once I get going. Once I have that momentum, I don't even think about what I've already written because I'm just hurtling ahead to what I have yet to write.

Also, at the end of a writing session, I'll leave myself a prompt or a note of where to go next, so that I'm not tempted to look back at yesterday's words for a refresher.

Jessica Brockmole said...

And when it comes to carving out time to get your words, short sprints work wonderfully. I'll challenge my writing partner to 100-word sprints whenever we're online and have a few minutes. It doesn't take long to get 100 words, it feels like an accomplishment, and you are 1/16th closer to hitting your daily goal. When she's not available, I'll sprint with anyone who gets too near ("Let's see if I can write 100 words before you brush your teeth/unload the dishwasher/dress that Barbie.").

Jessica Brockmole said...

And I'm with Christine. I have the most fun when I let myself be silly!

(Okay, I'm done now.)

G.M. said...

Well, if you need pep talk let me help. Most important to to separate yourself from the 50K words that you'll write during NaNo .. if you're able to reach that number. It seems like a lot of words to do in one month (I can't do it).Put a note beside your computer that you are still the wonderful person that you are even if the NaNo writing isn't great. Once you adopt the take it easy attitude as Christine suggested, you just follow Rachelle Gardner tip #1. Best wishes and good luck in your Nano writing adventure.

Shoshanna Evers said...

Rule number 1: Give yourself permission to suck!

Leave the typos and plot holes in place, and just keep going. Don't go back and reread - like another commenter said, write a quick note to yourself at the end of the session so you know where to go, like (Hero and heroine have first kiss and she gets upset when villain interrupts.) I actually do that all the time, not just for Nano.

If you find yourself realizing you need to make a change (like you gave away too much info in first chapter) just keep writing as if you've already made the change, and when it's time to edit you can go back and make the change. You can even write a note to yourself like (pretend they never kissed) and keep going.

Many writers can write 1000 words in an hour, so if you give yourself two hours a day you can meet your goal. During Nano I try to write 2K a day to account for days when something happens (like Thanksgiving).

Side note: every day is NaNoWriMo for me; I write at least 2K words a day, every day, in order to keep up with contractual commitments and you know, write a lot of books :)

The Pulse was written during NaNoWriMo (75k words), so was Snowed in With the Tycoon, and The Tycoon's Convenient Bride...and Baby was also written in a Nano-esque month. So good books can come out of it, it's all about December and revisions :)

Most importantly, have fun with it. When you don't know what to write next, add in a new secret, a new character, or a new obstacle. Instant plot twist!

Happy writing!

Tone said...

I think that if I were taking on this project, which I am not, I would get up at 4 a.m. every day, well before the world wakes up. It's quiet. Belt out as many words as you can before your body has time to complain about being up so early.

Unknown said...

I have to write after the kids go to bed or when my husband, always a rock at this time of year, watches the kids while I camp out at Panera or Starbucks. Shoshanna made a great point of getting the words down as quickly as you can. Also, when you have a good stretch of time, try to keep going even after you have your goal for the day... I think of the extra words as a cushion for those days when November gets in the way. It's a crazy time of year to take on such a crazy endeavor but it is a thrill!

I wish I was doing it again this year. But alas, it's revisions for me.

Jessica Brockmole said...

Excellent advice from Shoshanna, especially, "If you find yourself realizing you need to make a change (like you gave away too much info in first chapter) just keep writing as if you've already made the change." I do this the other eleven months of the year too.

Jenny H said...

I like to use brackets when I don't know something. It feels like it gives me permission to just keep going but leaves things tidy enough that I'm not stressing about it. Then in December I can go back and search for all the brackets and see what my homework is. So I end up with a manuscript full of things like, "the earl hopped off his [horse description] and surveyed his [estate description]. Nothing had changed in the [X] years he'd been away." (And I totally count the words inside the brackets in the total word count.)

Kaye Draper said...

In addition to all of the above, I think I would add don't focus as much on word count. Set a goal that you would like to accomplish- maybe write two scenes today- then go do that, don't even look at the word count until you've accomplished that goal. I thinkmfocusing too much on word count causes performance anxiety ;) If you don't think about it and just write, You may look back at the end of the day and say - wow, I just laid down 4,000 words!
Best of luck!