Besides the obvious—like ahem, you have to write, these are the things I did to win:
- Made sure to keep my schedule as clear as possible. When I knew something was coming up, I wrote like crazy to get ahead so I could make up for the time I couldn’t write. I never thought, “I will make up the time afterward” because you never know what’s going to happen. And I prefer not to work under pressure. I do that enough in my day job.
- I stayed up late. Not always a good idea, but I wanted to win, so this was what I had to do. Between multiple jobs and three young children, my me time (and I am not complaining) is late at night.
- I wrote a scene or two each day and allowed them to be as long or as short as they were going to be. Some were just over 1K words and others were 3K+. I am not a scriptwriter, but I handled each day like it was a new scene in a movie. It does mean I have a lot more edits to make in order to pull everything together, but it really helped the words flow. During these “scenes” I learned more and more about my characters. It was inspiring and I look forward in incorporating these knew things I learned along the way into earlier scenes.
- I jotted story ideas in my notebook (always graph ruled…I am an Engineer after all) throughout the day and when I didn’t have a scene in mind during my allotted writing time, I read through these ideas until a full-on scene bloomed. And they sure did bloom.
- I didn’t go back and edit as I wrote. Okay, I may have a little, although I convinced myself I was just trying to remember where I left off in case I wanted to add to the latest scene. This was the hardest change for me to make. I want to mold and tweak and remold words until I get those goose bumps, but during NaNoWriMo…I just didn’t have time for that. And I had to be okay with that. Okay, I am still trying to be okay with that.
- I told people what I was doing and I updated my word counts religiously. It helped hold me accountable, although that’s not usually an issue for me. I am confident in that I do what I say when it really means something to me. Writing a novel in one month really means something to me and I am so happy I did it!
See you next year NaNoWriMo!