This will be my third year "competing." My first year, I heard about it and signed up around 10pm on October 31, with not a clue in my mind what I'd write. I was working full time at the animal shelter then, and had never finished anything except for some poems and a short story.
I tried, but I failed: I peetered out around 32k? But something good came from it: that was where I developed Saving Me, the women's fiction novel that I finally finished earlier this year. I wouldn't change that NaNo for anything. I may not have won, but I created a story that I could truly love.
Last year I was out of work with my wrist injury, my husband was gone 12 hours a day, and I had zero social life (some things don't change). So yeah, I won that year. I wrote my 50k in 23 days, due to some Thanksgiving obligations.
I'm not what one would consider a fast writer by any means. Sure, I can churn out a few thousand in a sitting, but it's the day-after-day bit that really gets hard. Believe me.
Anyway, there were FOUR things that really helped me get through that November, and I'd like to share them with you:
I don't usually advocate for self-rewarding during writing, but it's a totally different story come November. I respond as well to a bribe as the next person. My bribe of choice?
30 Rock! The entire series as it was then was available for instant play on Netflix. I'd make myself an arbitrary goal (say, 750 words or 1k) and when I reached it, watch an episode. This worked wonders! It's a fantastic show, and I'd go speeding through my daily word count in order to watch the next episode.
2. Just For You, Baby
Having something that you use/eat/drink only during NaNoWriMo. It's Pavlovian--as soon as you encounter that item, you're instantly in the NaNo frame of mind! My special thing?
This tea is the shit. For real, if you like peppermint tea, try this! It's only available during holiday season in the stores, which makes it fairly easy to save for NaNo. Unfortunately I haven't found it for this year, but I still have a week, dammit!
This year is going to be great, since I know so many of you bloggers and friends are participating. Seriously, the level of awesome is approaching epic. However, last year I only knew 2 other ladies doing NaNo, and only one of them was hardcore about it. So, I found myself a member of the official NaNoWriMo Facebook Group. We were our own little cheer team, and it was great! I doubt I'll be as active this year, but I won't forget their amazing support!
4. Fun! Fun!
Really, that's the name of the game, guys. Let me tell you, if you haven't spent any time mucking around in the plethora of NaNo forums, you're missing out! There's a thread for everything, if you just look! Forums by genre, by age, forums for questions, forums for answers, and forums upon forums of just plain silliness! The forums are one of the main things I look forward to every year. I was there within minutes of the Office of Letters and Light folks resetting everything for 2010.
It's great to do all your writing during the day (or whenever) and check that 1,667 words off your calendar (the plotters, of course), but you're probably going to be finding yourself doing this more than once:
I know I did! And weirdly, the hours between midnight and 2am were like magic--the words just flowed. Maybe I was hypnotized by the glow of the computer monitor? Either way, it worked! It's always good to get ahead on your word count, just to plan for the unexpected. (And there's a sense of satisfaction in watching your progress bar skyrocket past your friends'.)
Don't forget to backup your work! Google Documents, jump drives, external hard-drives, email! Do it! Do it! Do it!
So, to all of you who are waiting for next Monday: bon voyage! Can't wait to see you there!
If you haven't buddied me, my username is summerbp.
And don't forget to please sign up for my blogfest in the linky and spread the word!!