Here’s my original, BETTER post. 😀
Hello, all Camp NaNoers. Excuse me, but…. B’HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. If you haven’t done it before, you don’t know what you’re getting into. And that’s why I’m here! 😀
What qualifies me to even be writing this, you ask? Well, I’ve asked that, too. I mean, I feel like I’m just starting out, too. (Even though I’ve been writing since I was ten.)
But. Considering the fact that I did Camp NaNo 2012 (aka The June Crusade)… and won… and then won NaNo again in 2013 (which was significantly harder because of school; you guys are smart to do camp!), I do feel like I have some advice I could give. So here it is.
1. Get a good night’s sleep the night before. Yeah, it seems “cool” to stay up half the night writing – like you’ve got in a thousand words before you’ve technically even started – but then you’ll sleep in the next morning and be sluggish all day. Just. Don’t. Do. It. The night before, set up your workspace (laptop, pen, notebook, chocolate, mug, writing books, etc), go to sleep early, and get up early. You’ll thank me for it.
2. Think outside the box when it comes to where and when you write. Stay up late (but not on the first night), get up early, write outside, write in the attic/basement/garage, write at a coffee shop (never done this but have always wanted to!), write upside down with your back on your bed and your feet on the wall. Just do something out of the ordinary. I guarantee, it’ll give you a fresh perspective.
3. Keep a notebook. In this notebook, write all of the random ideas you get while writing – what your MC’s childhood was like, what a sub-charrie had for lunch yesterday, what you’re going to have for lunch…. These are called Golden Nuggets from Heaven, Baby (according to one of my favorite authors ever, Wayne Thomas Batson), and they are NOT to be forgotten. TRUST. ME. If you get a great idea and then say, “What a great idea! I shall tuck it away in my brain for later… as soon as I’m done with this page/chapter/sentence/cup of coffee,” you will, ninety-nine times in a hundred, forget it. (And I don’t recommend counting on that one time you do remember it.) Jot it down in your notebook and get back to writing. It’ll be there when you need it.
4. Reward yourself. When you get to the 10k marker, have some chocolate. When you get to 25k, wipe the sweat from your brow and make some cookies while listening to a great soundtrack. When you get to 35k (cuz this is juuuust about the hardest part), watch your favorite movie. When you get to 46k, don’t stop writing – have a marathon and finish that thing! When you reward yourself, you’ll want to do it again.
5. Plan wisely. You never know what’s going to happen on April 5th or 16th. I thought I had my entire month planned out when I did NaNo last year, but on November 1st, I got up and heard that my great-grandfather had passed away. Just try to stay ahead. If you get 15k words done in the first week, pat yourself on the back and keep going. I promise, you’ll love me for it. This way, if you get in a rut and only get 3k words done the next week, you’re not quite as far behind. And, hey, if you get so ahead that you finish early (which I’ve done!), you’ll feel great… and have some extra time to relax and not be crunching numbers. Which reminds me….
6. Don’t write just to get your word count up. I think this is the one (teeny-tiny) area where NaNo fails – they emphasize quantity instead of quality. You don’t have to do this. Be one of the few who plans out their novel so that you inevitably get up to 50k – and need more words to finish the story. Don’t have your characters go through some mindless word count-boosting event just because you’re a little behind. It’ll only make for some tough editing later. (‘I reeeeally hate this part, but it made me hit my 50k, so I don’t want to take it out…. I’ll take a break and do some pinning while I think about it.’)
7. Use the forums. The threads are amazing for when you’re in a rut – character adoptions, title adoptions, even plot adoptions, different threads where you can ask questions about your plot, characters, setting, etc…. They’re amazing.
And here’s my last bit of advice. I’ve saved the best for last. Are you ready???
8. Don’t wait to stop writing until after the scene ends. Stop in the middle of the climax. Seriously. This is the best advice I can give you. It’s helped me a MILLION times in the past. When you’re in the middle of a complicated, pulse-racing scene, stop right before the climax – or, better yet, right in the middle of the climax. You’ll be excited about getting back to writing and still have your original vision.
Well, there it is. My better advice. 🙂