I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist. I haven’t posted a blog in two days which is very awful of me. I know. But I was super busy with real life and excuses excuses. But I am here again.
Two days ago, I finished the NaNoWriMo challenge. For those of you who don’t know, it stands for National Novel Writing Month. Basically you try to write 50,000 words in a month’s time and when you finish, you are a winner. It is difficult at times, because you have to find a rhythm in your writing and write even when you have no inspiration. The good thing about NaNo is that there is some sort of pressure on you to write, because there is a beautiful graph that shows your word count and also let’s you know when you are very much behind. It is a good motivation to keep writing because of course you want to keep up with the pace.
There are three days to go before the official end of NaNoWriMo and there are enough writers that are still struggling to make their deadline. While I am not a pro at writing, I do want to share some tips and tricks that have helped me finish NaNoWriMo. They may not work for everybody, but they worked for me and maybe they will work for you. And that is the circle…the circle of life.
1. Imagine that your book already exists, you only have to fill the pages.
This might sound like weird advice, but hear me out. Grab a book from your book shelves. Design a cover for your book and print it. Put the cover around the book you’ve picked and put it in front of you. There it is! Your book already exists. You only need to write the words and make the characters come alive. I think one of the reasons this works is because when you do this, you are not just making up something out of nowhere. Of course, you are making up the story, but I feel that when you have something that visually represents your book, you are more inclined to actually write it. And that is a great feeling and has really helped me write.
2. Write an outline but if the story rolls in a completely different direction, go with it!
In October I wrote the outline for my story. Not chapter by chapter, but just the general idea of where I wanted to go. While I was writing, I noticed that the story and characters were taking me in a completely different direction than I had initially planned. Don’t panic when this happens! It might even be a good thing. As with our own lives, the lives of our characters don’t always go the way they (or we) have planned. Let it go, as Elsa would have said.
3. Write about people you really care about.
The story I am writing right now, which I used for my NaNo project, is a story that has been stuck in my head for ages. For years I have had these characters talk to me in my head (which also sounds slightly creepy but I swear I am totally not crazy) and now was the time to actually write down their story. I enjoy spending time with them and I enjoy writing down what happened in their world. Sometimes I am taken by surprise as well, when something happens that I did not forsee. But because it is enjoyable to spend time with these characters, the writing is easier. So write the story that fits you about the people that you care about. Don’t fall in the trap of writing about what is popular now.
4. Try to steal free minutes to write
Even if it is just 15 minutes. Every word you put on that page is another word written. You can’t always reach your goals for the day, but at least write something. Nobody is going to come in and write it for you and the world is dying to read your story!
5. Keep going, no matter how much you feel like giving up.
Especially in the beginning, I had a hard time to sit myself down and write. As the story developed, this got easier but I did have moments where I just wanted to give up. I didn’t. This was a challenge to myself and I had to prove to myself that I could do this writing thing. And when I noticed that it all worked out, I was over the moon. It helped that I had a writing buddy and we were both in this together, but in the end, it was me who had to write my story. So my advice is, believe in yourself. Believe in your story. And sit your ass down and reach that word count goal!
So yeah, I am now in the process of finishing my story. It is still not done yet but I am motivated to tell my story from beginning to the end. And I hope you will too.
Have you participated in NaNoWriMo this year? How did it go for you? Do you have any advice on how to win NaNoWriMo? Let me know in the comments!