It’s that time of year again…
I’m a huge fan of NaNo*. I would tell anyone to try NaNo at least once, because why not? You never know what you’re capable of until you set a goal for yourself. A lot of the time I hear, “I could never commit to writing 50,000 words in a month.” And if it’s your second time, third time, whatever and you say that, I feel like that’s better than I first timer sporting that reason.
I’m guilty of saying that to myself about NaNo. I tried my first time in 2012 and tried 3 more times after that before completing my first NaNo in July 2016 (wohoo, Camp NaNo!). In this blog I’ll share the key differences in what I did when failing NaNo and when winning NaNo-
Difference #1. Character Development/ Character sheets
In previous years, I didn’t make character sheets or have an in-depth idea of who my characters were… even my MC! This is a mistake. Write down even the most general ideas of who your characters are, what their goals are, and who they want to be. When I created character sheets for my main characters (and even some of my side characters), it made it easier to know how a character would respond to an event and why they would respond that way.
Difference #2. Time
I was going through a huge personal issue when I completed Camp NaNo. I’m not encouraging this. However, writing became very important to me during this time. I didn’t let anyone deter me from writing at least 1,700 words everyday. I set aside a specific time and that was right when I woke up. I would immediately head over to my computer and get my word count out of the way. This made writing a habit as well, a definite plus.
This is way better than saying I have to write 1,700 words today, then I’m staring at my computer at 10PM thinking… why am I doing this?
Difference #3. Outline
The dreaded outline. I hate outlining, but I encourage it 100%. In every NaNo I’ve competed in, I only completed an outline once. Can you guess which time that was? I bet you can!
Outlines can be as in-depth as you like. I plan to make a blog post about my personal outlining method soon. There are tons of resources online that show different ways you can outline your novel.
The reason I say to outline is this: Lets say it is 10PM. You had a horrible day and you just want to curl up in bed to sleep. But no, you can’t. You have to write 1,700 words. It is SO MUCH easier to pump out 1,700 words when you have an outline. You don’t have to think, “Shit, what happens next?” You know what happens next. It’s in your outline.
Difference #4. Confidence
Very cheesy, but true. Don’t go into NaNo saying you can’t do it. Just do the damn thing.
Until next time, Allison
*If you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, you should! Go check it out here 🙂