Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Getting S*** Done, NaNoWriMo-Style.

Right about this time there are a metric ton's worth of tips about NaNoWriMo success floating about in the interwebs.

A lot of those tips share similar themes, such as banking wordcount, telling all your friends and family you'll be participating so they lower their expectations, etc.

There's certainly nothing wrong with those tips, if they work for you. But, most of the tips out and about don't really apply to me nor my writerly sensibilities.

This year will be my 5th NaNo, and I've won every year with the exception of the first, when I got to 38k and floundered. I may lose this year--who knows? November is actually the best month this could happen for me, school-wise, and there are a few reasons why.

But enough preamble. Let's kick this in the pants:

1. Get Shit Done. This one is especially true if you're in school, like me. I have a few things due in November, and I've worked my ass off getting them done before the 1st. Now, not only do I have a sense of relief that I'll have more time to write, but I'm just glad to have one less thing on my plate in general.

2. Outward Reflects Inward. Maybe not for you, but certainly does for me. I absolutely cannot abide being unclean, undressed, the house messy--nothing. I've never understood the whole "I'm a writer and I don't take showers on deadline" kind of thing--can you really not take 5 minutes to clean yourself in the morning? I'm always hoping that's a bit of hyperbole. But it's a psychological fact that when you feel good about yourself, your mind works better...and hopefully that means creativity will flow freely.

3. Eat Well, Be Well. Anyone who knows me knows that nutrition and exercise are two of my soapboxes, so I'll attempt not to stand on them for too long, but... Sitting on your ass in front of a computer is the last time you should be hand-over-fisting leftover Halloween candy into your hole. I hate to break it to you, but typing doesn't really burn calories. I mean hell, running 1 mile only burns about 100 calories, so think about that... Healthy snacks are easy. And you won't feel like the Queen of Bloat from all the sodium and water retention from junk food. Which brings me to my next point...

4. Drink Some Water. Period. Actually, between 2-3 liters a day. You can count your herbal tea, but not your coffee, okay?

5. Don't Psych Yourself Out. The truth is, with practice, you can write 1,667 words in about 90 minutes. Sometimes far, far less. So don't think that NaNo writing time has to swamp all day, every day. Set aside specific time to (1. Get Shit Done), and give yourself a few hours whenever they best suit you. There's 24 hours in a day, man. Resist Twitter and Facebook. If you need to procrastinate, go to the NaNoWriMo site. Chances are, you'll feel inspired to get back to it.

6. Let Go. This one is easier said than done. But my most memorable and most fun NaNo was 2 years ago, when I let the story go crazy. My main character ended up shifting into a dragon-panther (it was sci-fi, okay?) and it was wild. I loved it. But you have to get yourself there. Stick a bigass Post-It note to your monitor that says anything that reminds of that. "It's just a draft" or "Write or Die" or whatever.

7. When Writer's Block Strikes... go for a walk. Take a shower. Do some push-ups. Wash the dishes. Then come back to it, and whether or not you've broken through, write something. You can always change it later, remember?

8. Just Do It. You signed up for it. It's fun. Just do it.

Oh, and...

9. Have Fun! 


Old Kitty said...

Oh wow!! One more day to go!!! Good luck Summer!!! Enjoy and have fun! Take care

Sarah Ahiers said...

Yeah i was just talking to Hannah and Teebore about how NaNo doesn't really affect our lives that much. We just fit it in.
But yeah, i like to shower every day. And you'll be glad to know that we don't keep snacks in the house (generally...) and that i pretty much only drink water. WOO HOO! We are going to PWN NaNo 2012!

Unpublished Life said...

One more day. Petrified.

Teri Anne Stanley said...

Go, NaNo, go NaNo! I'm ready. *jogs in place*

Guinevere said...

I'm doing NaNo again this year too -- it's honestly what I feel I should do year round, but just... don't. Because life gets in the way.

Hope you're having fun, and thanks for the tips!

Unknown said...

What a great post!! I'm printing the whole thing and sticking it on my design wall. Everything you said here applies to me and my write-a-novel mountain-climb. Good luck with NaNo -- though I know you got this!

-blessed holy socks, the non-perishable-zealot said...
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