Happy Halloween faithful readers and followers!

Today until the end of November, I’m going to focus Writer’s Tip Wednesdays on Nano related topics.

Today’s discussion is Pre Nano Jitters.

We all get them, whether we are new to Nano, or old pros at it. Reaching that 50,000 word goal  is intimidating. Especially for first timers.

Last week I suggested several tips to help break Nano down into reachable goals. Today, I’d like to add to that and narrow the focus a bit. I’ve participated in two Nano events thus far and won both, well over the 50K goal, so I think these tips may help others.

As writers we often get several shiny new ideas right before, or after we’ve started a big project. That’s wonderful. It means the creative juices are flowing and will serve you well. However, in order to reach the goal of 50K words in 30 days, you’ll need to do many things.

Prepare beforehand.  Especially if you are {like me} a plotter. Have your character profiles, plot map, ect, mapped out by the end of October. This way when Nano starts you’re ready to go.

Keeps your Notes on hand at all times. If you get stuck, or can’t remember your character’s eye color you can refer to your notes and move on. This is really handy for when the plot tries to veer off too.

Be open to new ideas. Don’t have your plot set in stone. Sometimes characters have a mind of their own and insist on taking an often unexpected twist. Go with it, don’t fight it. Usually this is a sign your characters are ready to tell their story and you have become a tool for their expressions.  It can be frustrating as hell, but also exciting. often times you have a better story for it too. Don’t worry if you don’t like the twist they took, that’s what revisions are for {After November.}

Do not revise until after November. It can be really tempting. Remind your inner editor he/she is on vacation and keep going. Turn up the music to drown him/her out.

Turn off spell check, and grammar checks.  We’re not looking for a masterpiece here. Just go with the flow.

Decide on one story for Nano. It can be so exciting to decide on a new story to start. A key to winning that I’ve found is to decide on one story to write.

Remain focused. A big key is to remain focused on the current project. If you try to work on too many projects you will get overwhelmed, confused, and lose the gumption to write.  So focus on the story you chose for this round. If you completed it, and have reached the 50K mark, then go ahead and start another one. But, until you’ve reached your 50K goal, or the end of your story, don’t try to start a new one.

Daily goals.  A minimum of 1,667 words per day. That isn’t too overwhelming. Not if you’re used to writing 3-4 K per day. Go at the pace you feel comfortable. Remember to reward yourself for meeting your daily goals.

Keep your goals realistic.  You know your time restraints. You know your writing abilities. Be fair to yourself and keep your goals realistic.

Allow yourself to write crappy. We’re not looking for a polished story, or even a completed one. Just 50K words in 30 days.  So, cut yourself a break and don’t beat yourself up for repetitious he said, she said, he did this, she did that. Don’t stifle your creative flow by trying to box yourself in. Write freely and enjoy it.

Frequent breaks.  As with any prolonged writing periods, remember to take frequent breaks to stretch your legs and back, and allow ideas to simmer.  Drink plenty of water, tea, or coffee, and eat properly. Walking with hubby and the kids , or when I’m making dinner, or washing dishes, is when I usually get some of my best ideas, or unexpected twists slap me upside the head.

So, does anyone have any tips they would like to add? What tips have worked for you? Have any of the tips I’ve listed not worked for you?  Feel free to join in the discussion. Every writer is unique and different methods work for them. I’d love for you to share some of yours. :)

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About kittyb78

Catrina Barton is a licensed Kung-Fu Instructor of the Black Dragon style, and draws on that experience to make her fight scenes both realistic and action packed. She enjoys being surrounded by the stark beauty of mother nature. Whether it's a moon-lit starry sky, or a picnic by a peaceful waterfall cascading from the mountain side. Growing up no matter where she was physically, she always had at least one book in her hands and spent every free moment lost in a book. It's only natural that as she grew up, her passion for reading grew into an even stronger passion for writing, especially Young Adult Paranormal Romances. She is a proud member of many writing and marketing groups, and an active participant at Critique Circle and several other crit groups. Favorite personal quote: "An author cannot grow without both constructive criticism and encouragement."

2 responses »

  1. mlegds says:

    This is my first NaNoWriMo. A tad nervous, though why I don’t know – it’s not like I’ve never written before!

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