Friday, October 25, 2013

Survive & Thrive During NaNoWriMo

Last time out I gave you tips on prepping for NaNoWriMo. This time, I thought I'd share a few things to help survive and thrive during NaNo.

Instant Gratification

Take a chocolate bar (doesn't have to be a chocolate bar,  can be any snack/treat/whatever you want- raisins, grapes, beer-nuts, whatever. I'm using choc bars in this example, and it's transferable to groups of other items) and break the bar up into it's individual pieces. A Hershey's breaks up to 12 pieces. Set a words written goal for each piece, and when you reach that goal, eat one piece. 200 words/piece x 12 pieces = 2400 words written, 1 chocolate bar enjoyed, and almost a day and a half worth of NaNo words done! If you can maintain the discipline, it's amazing how fast your word count will jump up.

Go To War

Don't be scared to go to war with someone. Word war, that is. Word wars are a set time period of concentrated writing, and another great way to increase your production. Word wars might last for 5 or 10 mins, or an hour. These are a staple of write-ins. If you can't get to a write-in, look at the forums. Someone is always looking for a friendly fight. Check out twitter too. There are lots of word war hast tags floating around. #1k1h is a popular one year round.

Note Pads - Your New AMEX Card

In other words - "Don't leave home without it". Plot bunnies can strike at ANY TIME. A sticky note doesn't seem like much, but, according to Twitter's own @RebeccaEnzor you can plot out whole scenes on them.

Blocking Out

Another benefit of word wars is they let your gauge your writing speed. This is a handy piece of information to have when you're trying to schedule writing time. Myself, I'm an 800-1000 word/hr typist, so I know I need to block out about 2 hours to get my 1667 in for a day.
And if you can't sit and write your entire daily word count in one sitting? Don't. Break it up into blocks of time and/or words. @LianaBrooks suggests 800 word sprints. Two of these (and a few sentences more) and you have your 1667 for the day. A third sprint gets you ahead. (remember, hoard words like Smaug does gold!) Liana also suggested plotting out a scene or two, then go write them! Rinse and repeat as needed.

Rock Out

Music helps lots of writers to block out the noisy distractions of daily life. Some use it as mood music for a particular scene/chapter on which they happen to be working. Some writers swear by music, others disdain it as a distraction in and of itself. Experiment. Maybe something will work for you and help you slip into the writing zone. Just don't get caught writing your biker bar fight scene while singing out loud in public along with "Call Me Maybe". #Embarrassing

Quick Characters

The plot bunny ninjas have struck and left you a bleeding mess with a new character to shoehorn into your novel. "But wait!" you cry. "I don't have time to create a new character!" Don't despair. @jroseallister offers up this tip: Do an online birth natal chart and poof! detailed personality traits.

Myself, when writing in a genre with a strong RPG community, I like to use character generation techniques from an appropriate set of game books, and just strip out any game-specific items. If I'm writing up a sci-fi space pilot, I might use Star Wars RPG books to generate a character, and leave out anything to do with The Force, or Alderaan or X-wing fighters, substituting in anything appropriate and specific to my novel's setting.

Miscellaneous Tips

(These may complement/contradict other pieces of advice)
-- Turning off WiFi. (@zombieirishgirl)
-- Lots of tea/coffee/caffeine. (@zombieirishgirl)
-- Writing alone. (@zombieirishgirl)
-- Team up with a writing buddy and cheer/challenge each other onward. (@kitcampbell)
-- Buy a chocolate advent calender and for every day you make goal, you get to have a chocolate. (@clraven)
-- Sit there and gut it out. Don't get up until you finish word count. (@jroseallister)

If you're doing NaNo this year, leave your WriMo id in the comments and add me as a buddy (wrytersblock) and we can push/pull/poke/prod/drag/cajole each other along!

1 comment:

  1. Love these tips, especially the one about the chocolate bar. I think I can be convinced to write my words for treats. :D