NaNo Til Your Heart Stops Beating

I did it again. No, not that. I meant that I won NaNoWriMo. 52,040 words this year, though 1,700 of those were recycled so they don’t technically count. However, it was really tough. I had absolutely no inspiration, unlike last year when I just didn’t have time to write. And as soon as December rolled around, I closed my Word document and haven’t looked back. I’m ashamed of what I’ve written, and have no urge to continue it at all. Ok, maybe it’s not that bad – but still, I wish it were a little better. Anyways, just in case anyone has been inspired by my struggle and wishes to attempt the challenge next year – here are five tips to help you along the way!

1. Stay on schedule. This is imperative, really. From the very beginning, make sure you follow the suggested word count. If you don’t, things can become a bad rush in the end when you are 10,000 words behind on November 30. For me at least, I usually start off good, even getting a little ahead on some days. Then for whatever reason (sickness, lethargy, etc.), I completely slack off in the middle of the month, sometimes going without writing anything for three or four days. By the time the end of November hits, I always have to lock myself in my room for ten hours in order to finish. Don’t let this happen to you – let your 50,000th word be comfortably easy as you type it the morning of November 30th (not at 11:59).

winner 2012
I just added this because I think it’s hilarious.
Am I supposed to frame this or something?

 2. Compete with other people. Ok, obviously NaNoWriMo is not a contest – there is no prize for being the first one done. However, I found doing Word Wars and other such mini feats gave me great inspiration. I followed the NaNoWriMo Word Sprint account on Twitter, and it was basically a constant stream of competitions. The goal – you have ten minutes to write, and to see how many words you can get in that time. Then when you are done, whoever has the most wins! Great for adding some more words to your word count when things get desperate.

3. Getting your groove on. This may be a given, but good music can sometimes help set the mood. If you don’t feel any inspiration or have no real clue what you are doing, simply try putting on some influential music to try and sway your inner writer. I found that funk tunes like Muse or a nice wordless new age beat were my biggest influences this time around.

4. Taking every chance you get. So, maybe you only have 15 minutes in between classes, or a 15 minute break during your job, or some other small space of time during which you have nothing to do. Try writing! It may be hard to get in the mood that quick and churn out quality words, but NaNoWriMo is all about quantity over quality. Hate to say it, but it’s true. Make it a contest, even. See how many words you can get in your breaks – they do add up at the end of the day! Take every chance you can get!

5. Don’t worry about how stupid it sounds. Chances are, your novel will end up being a piece of poo. I know mine is. But the glorious thing is that I wrote 50,000 words. Maybe I can only end up using 5,000 of them after I wean out the terrible parts. But those are 5,000 words I didn’t have before. The goal is not to dwell on your mistakes, but rather, to word vomit the heck out of that blank page. I’m doing it right now, and look how well it’s working out for me!

Kristy Snyder

I'm a creative and quirky woman just looking to make her mark on the world. Writer, thinker, crafter, doer. Loves playing ice hockey and curling up with a good book. Traveling is a foremost passion and the road is always calling. Above all, I try to be an enjoyer of life.

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