Scott D. Parker
A few years ago, I discovered NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. It’s an exercise intended to get folks to write at least 50,000 words in the 30 days of November. That's 1,667 words per day. It’s quite a daunting task if you’ve never done it. I failed a couple of times, but then succeeded 2015. Turned out the book surpassed 50K, but I got all 50K in during November.
The thing is, ever since then, and not only in November, I’ve been able to write a 50,000-word novel in a month. Because once you’ve done it, no longer does it appears as daunting as before.
But it’s still a major achievement. Over the years, as I’ve written more books, a few things have come to mind as tidbits of wisdom. Mine is yet another list, but so be it. We all learn from each other.
- You should definitely raise a glass in celebration when you reach 50,000. It’s a major accomplishment. Celebrate!
- If you don’t succeed, DO NOT castigate yourself. Go back over the month, see where things went off the rails, and fix it for next time.
- I found it best to write in a common spot. There’s studies out there that indicate our brains get re-wired if we sit in the same environment and do the same thing. When we do that, it gets easier to get into the flow each day.
- Try to write at the same time each day. Same kind of thing as above. Weekdays, it's 4:30am.
- Get off the internet. Research later. You’re main goal for the 50K is to get through at least 1,667 words per day. Can’t remember a fact you need in your story? Write around it. Leave yourself tags in the text. For example, I write “TK” in spots where I know I have to go back, but I keep going. Just Keep Going. You can always go back, search for “TK,” and then fill in the blanks.
- If possible, leave yourself a cliffhanger at the end of each writing session. You'll be dying to return to your keyboard and, when you do, the words will flow easier.
But if there’s one piece of advice that should remain at the top of anyone’s list, it’s this: Have fun. Have a blast. Writing is a joy. You are telling a story. You are the first reader. Entertain yourself. If you do that, then reaching 50,000 words is a breeze.
As of this year, no I’m not starting a new novel, but I am finishing up the one I started in October. I had a mental reset on 1 Nov and cracked the story open yesterday. Now, I’m off and running. Who knows? The book might actually be longer than I anticipate. If it is, it’ll be a NaNoWriMo by accident.
ALBUM OF THE WEEK/YEAR
Young and Dangerous by The Struts.
Love. Love. Love.