Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Nano Panic

Monday's WC: 1,313

Nano is less than two weeks away! I'm excited, I'm anxious, I'm PANICKED. Well, actually, I've calmed down...a tad. I'm really thankful that I've prepared myself with OctoPractiMo. I've learned quite a few things this month, things I'm hoping to reinforce next month with nano. At any rate, I had a dear friend from a writer's board state that she, too, was panicking. Here are a few things that I'm figuring out...and remember, I'm still a beginner. I'm a nano virgin.

Inner Editor Sucks Creativity: Yes, yes, that terrible editor that lives within us all. I read a post a couple of weeks ago (wish I could remember where) where the blogger referred to that editor as a jerk. Yes, he/she is a jerk. Because I write two paragraphs and want to delete them. Or, that one word isn't quite what I was looking for. Or, this plot will never work. Or, or, or... Yup, I struggled with that jerk all week. Even the court jester teased me and my delete button usage. In my head, I think that I'll never remember to fix that paragraph/word/character/scene. So-in order to keep myself from deleting-I highlighted in a strange pink kind of color(it's a very pretty addition to the manuscript)so that I know I want to go back and look at that specific passage or whatever-after I'm finished. Oh yeah, darn! That word...finished.

You see, our first draft is never going to be finished, in the sense of finito! Our rough draft will suck, it will contain punctuation, grammatical and spelling errors. Some paragraphs might not make sense, some plot threads will be left hanging. That's why it is a rough draft.

Time is Precious: Even more so than usual-we have to set aside a time to sit down and write. And write some more. If you have a DVR, I would suggest recording your weekly shows or what have you during the month of November. Because tv time is eating into your writing time. And I have certain shows that I really look forward to throughout the week (Pathetic, huh? It used to be Friday night clubbing that I looked forward to....*sigh*) However, I've made a firm commitment to really evaluate what I want more-tv or a novel. Novel wins. This isn't just about tv either-it could be that for the month of November you could talk someone else into driving the kids everywhere, or at some of the where's. Or, you skip Wednesday night with the girls, or you dutifully take your notebook with you to every function that may give you five minutes or more of down time. There are a lot of ways to adjust your time availability-you just have to look hard.

Plan: Even if you are a 'seat of the pants' type of writer(oh yeah, that's me), something could be said for planning. It doesn't have to be a professional outline, like the kind you had to turn in with your research paper in high school. It can be a simple jotting of notes-events and characters, plot lines, conflicts...these things help you out when you get to that 'stuck' part of just writing on the fly.

Plan some More: 50,000 words in 30 days is daunting enough-then look at it broken down and it's still daunting. 1667(approximately) words per day. Of course-this is assuming that you write seven days. Remember-kids have a short Thanksgiving break, do you have family coming in? Are you cooking the bird? I know I have to take care of Thanksgiving around here by myself. The day before and day of are spent cooking-like most women. I also know that when the kids are home on weekends, I don't write as much...so I know that I will have to adjust my word count. My goal is to write a good 3,000 to 3500 once a week to keep up. Will this goal hold true? I don't know-but it sure looks good on paper and when it's on paper-I tend to try a lot harder to achieve it.

READ: There are a lot of bloggers and websites that have great and helpful information from those much more experienced in the Nano life. I have linked to them below.

Reward Yourself: Even if it's something simple, like a chocolate bar, or a walk around the block or a bubble bath-when you reach your wordcount goal consistently for a few days or a whole week, remember to give yourself a little instant gratification. It makes it easier to go all the way to the end goal.

Kristi Holl: Wonderful advice all the time, but she has some great links for nano on her blog.
NanoTools: This squidoo page holds great links to fun programs that might make reaching your word count a little easier.
Liana Brooks: She also posted a little 'plan' post for Nano, reminding us that plotting in advance is key for writing under a deadline.
Lynn Viehl: She links several different documents that she uses for plot planning, character development, etc.. She also shares with us other links of interest specifically for nano.


  1. Kristi,
    Thank you for the bucketful of information. This is incredible. Now, I have a couple of questions for you:
    One... first, I'd like to thank you for the great award... how do I get the award onto my blog? I can't figure out where to paste it.
    ::Yaya is still carrying it around the room, trying to tack it up onto the wall, but it just won't stick::
    Second, how did you get those awesome stickers for your blog? You know the ones; '... UNTIL NANOWRIMO BEGINS' and 'NANOWRIMO PARTICIPANT'... those?
    Thanks, again, for the award. I can hardly wait to hang it on my Blog wall. ~ Yaya


  2. Oy. When you put it like that it looks a lot more daunting. Thanksgiving is going to cause problems :) But I'm looking forward to it anyway. I know I might not make 50,000 words, but it will be fun anyway.

  3. Everyone good luck with NaNo. Just remember the delete key no longer works and sitting at the computer while not typing is a big NO NO. If you don't know what to write - just start typing about your characters or the setting, etc. Could be something like - shoot, I don't know what to do about this plot hole, Jinny is afraid of water so how am I gonna get her to jump in the lake, this is a problem, a problem that I will fix LATER, onto next scene starting now.....Jinny is already in the water...

    Other tricks of the trade. Give your characters two word names. Brahahahaha Three word names are even better. Amazing how that word count just climbs. Take out out all I'm, don't, won't, can't. Compounds and contractions are your enemy. They are evil, evil, evil. Any thing that turns two words into one must be avoided at all costs!!!! Grammar is not your friend!!!!

    Have fun with NaNo!!!!

  4. Angelia, awesome tips! Thank you very much for adding to it :-) I really can't wait... not only to write a book..somewhat coherent..but to simply enjoy writing what flows again. I'm slowly getting back into that feeling. Falling in love is great, isn't it?

  5. Thanks for the tips. I'm planning on participating, and these will come in handy.

  6. Great advice! I'm not sure if I will officially participate, but the idea of trying to finish my WIP in one month is tempting.

  7. Good luck! I wish I had the determination(and time)to participate. I guess I'd just rather drag my feet through the mud and finish a little later...but maybe I can 'pretend' participate? We'll see.
    It's great to meet you!

  8. Angelia,
    Thanks for the tips. The old 'If its worth doing at all, its worth doing right' really plays havoc on my psyche during NaNo. ~ Yaya


  9. Yaya - Just knock that gremlin off your shoulder. Nano is all about letting go and proving to yourself that you can write a novel from beginning to middle to end. That is the exercise - nothing else matters.

    Kristi - Your welcome, I know I have more, but will have to remember back to my NaNo days to see if I can conjure them up.


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