It's that time of the year again. I've been doing Nanowrimo since 2003! Usually failing of course, but having fun all the same. The first year I won I was so happy...that book was full of problems and it still sits unfinished (and probably never will be) in my filing cabinet (not even sure if there's a digital copy still in existence).
Now, the smart thing to do would be to start my novel now that I'm 8 minutes into the month, but Procrastination is for winners in this game. :)
So as a veteran Nano participant, here's some tips for making it through the month.
1. Pacing yourself is for wimps. If you feel you can write 5,000 words a day, by all means try. Normally I only write about 2/3 of the days in a Nano month, pounding out thousands in one sitting and then staring at the TV for three days straight.
2. Procrastination is for winners. Sometimes you need a break, and that's okay. Let off some steam by playing mindless video games, or take the time to clean something that hasn't been cleaned in forever.
3. The following sites are your friends: Writeordie and Written?Kitten! Use them every day and you'll get your word count in.
4. Decide what's more important--your word count or writing something worthwhile. Both are valid goals. A lot of people start churning out crackfic (yes, that's technical term) just to make their word count, but if you're trying to work on a serious piece and you get stuck in a rut, don't give in. Work on another project and keep going, or save your words in a separate document and start ripping it down to bare bones. I usually count the words of two to five projects during Nano--even my blog. (I'm at 300 words so far! Now 309!) This summer I did Camp Nano and I wrote a novella, a short story, and worked on two other projects as well. It was a productive month for me.
5. Make writing friends. It's a lot more fun to have someone to compare notes with or have word sprints, not to mention someone to race to the finish line. Find a buddy on the Nano posting boards, twitter, or go to your local IRL write-ins. (I'm notoriously bad at this but I'm going to try this year.)
6. Try not to overeat. Makes you sluggish and sick. One nano I did 18,000 words over thanksgiving weekend eating nothing but turkey and Oreos and I did NOT feel good at the end of it. (That was the first year I won though.)
7. Have fun and do the best you can. Even if you don't hit 50k you'll still have the work you started, and that's better than nothing.