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NaNoWriMo: writing tips for new participants

Underwood 1, originally uploaded by Isayana.

As a 3-year veteran of the month-long writing marathon that is NaNoWriMo, I feel qualified to offer a little advice, on the off chance that anyone aspires to follow in my steps. First of all, it's less like footprints in the sand and more like a butt-print on my desk chair. To type a 50,000 word novel in 30 days requires a serious commitment to sitting. If that sounds like something you want to do then read on, and Godspeed, dear reader.

  • Make a schedule. Set aside some uninterruptable typing time, if possible. I do my writing in the evening, when I feel most creative.
  • Type 2,000 words per day. It's a good, clear, round number goal. There's a cushion of 333 words/day if you fall short later, and you'll finish with five days to spare if you maintain this schedule. Party time!
  • Don't delete. Ever! Pry the backspace off your keyboard. The words you have typed are words in the bank. No withdrawals allowed.
  • Don't edit. There's a whole other month for this. Don't proofread, analyze, or agonize over what you've already written; keep moving forward.
  • Fix it later. This is the corollary to the previous rule. Make it your mantra: "I'll fix it in the re-write."
  • Free your mind. The rest will follow. This type of writing is a Zen exercise. Don't think; just write!
Here's most of the same advice in longer form and 3 years older. Tomorrow, I'm going to keep talking about this stuff, so check back in December everyone!

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