Happy days: you’ve decided to join the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) madness on November 1. You’re excited, eager, and not a little overwhelmed at the thought of plunging into writing some 1,600 words every day for 30 days.
Perhaps you’re wondering whether you’re setting yourself up for stress in November, and are feeling anxious already. That’s completely normal. Here’s all you need to remember: take it day by day, and word by word, AND start preparing to write your novel NOW.
Meeting your NaNoWriMo challenge: word by word, sentence by sentence
Let’s look at some tips which will help you to avoid overwhelm.
1. Avoid focusing on words — focus on FEELINGS
As I said in this Facebook post, forget the words, focus on the feelings:
Your challenge while writing your novel is staying IN your novel: feeling the feelings you want to arouse in your reader. Keeping your inspiration, if you like. For each and every novel you write, the “feeling-state” will be different. When you lose that feeling-state it’s almost impossible to get it back.
Read the post, and create a mood board to help you to easily access your inspiration for your novel.
You’ll discover that when you put EMOTION first, your writing automatically improves. Keep reminding yourself that fiction is entertainment, so it’s all about the feelings, rather than the words.
Please be aware that if you don’t focus on feelings, rather than words, your novels just won’t sell.
2. Focus on real-time, right here, write now, writing — that is, write in SCENES
As I said in this post on writing in scenes (showing, rather than telling):
Over the past couple of years, I’ve received hundreds of questions about fiction from authors. Surprisingly enough, few of those questions concerned scenes, because few fiction authors (new or established) pay in sufficient attention to scenes.
When you do start paying attention, you’ll know that scenes turbo-charge your fiction. Write great scenes, and you’ll write excellent novels, novellas, and short stories of which you’re proud, and which readers love.
Please write in scenes. You must engage your readers, and “real time” writing is the only way to do that.
3. Use a book journal to keep track of your novel, and make revision notes for later drafts (after NaNoWriMo)
I’m a huge fan of book journals, simply because I’m usually writing at least two novels at any one time. As soon as I get an idea for a novel, I start a book journal for it.
Here’s an excellent article on book journals:
To write, you need to put your rear end in a chair, and stay there. On some days, this is difficult. On any day, you can find a dozen things you should be doing, rather than writing.
Journaling your book helps you to stay in your chair. Before you start writing, write a journal entry. Talk to yourself about the book. Ask questions (more on a questions below.)
Create your book journal today. It’s the most important thing you can do for your novel.
Vital: have FUN with NaNoWriMo and writing your novel
For writers, fun is serious business. Your enjoyment determines a reader’s enjoyment. Bored? Your readers will be too, and they won’t keep reading.
All professional writers know that if you’re not having fun with a book, your book needs help. Writing fiction is huge fun — if you allow it to be. Decide that you’ll have fun with your book, and your creativity will blossom.
I developed the tactics and strategies in this book to help myself. My students have found them essential to producing both fiction and nonfiction almost effortlessly.More info →
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