I spent all weekend doing chores and gearing up for Easter, which is how I found myself failing miserably.
On Sunday afternoon I realized that I was only 2,000 words into my NaNoWriMo project on day 5. I should have been past 8,000 words. And just in case you’re not familiar, Camp NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month which is basically a challenge to complete a writing project (screenplay, novel, short story, epic poem, etc.) during the month of April with thousands of other writers,
What did I do when I found myself already behind?
I sat down and wrote. I wrote for roughly two hours and ended Sunday at about 5,000 words into my Camp NaNoWriMo project. Yes, I’m still behind. But not by much. By my calculation, I can write about 1700 words every day for the rest of the month to still make my word count goals.
What’s My Point?
Whether or not you’ve started your NaNoWriMo project, you’ve already fallen behind, or you’re right on par, you can do it. Did you hear me? YOU CAN DO IT. You can still make, complete, and exceed your goals for the month.
Three key tips for finishing and winning NaNoWriMo
Sit Down and Write – Or stand and write. It doesn’t matter how you do it as long as you write, write, write. You won’t finish without trying. You aren’t trying unless you write. So write. Let the words flow from your fingers. Don’t judge them. Don’t stop if you think the last sentence you wrote wasn’t so hot. That’s what revisions are for.
Turn Off Your Inner Editor – My first NaNoWriMo I attempted, I didn’t “win”, which means I didn’t hit my 50,000 word count. Why? Because I was editing my work nonstop. Now, I admit that my first draft back them read like a second draft of mine now, but here’s the difference. Now I complete my word goals…back then I didn’t. I realized my problem wasn’t that I didn’t make time to write. I was! But I spent my whole writing time criticizing my work and trying to make it better. Do not revise until you’re done. That’s the best way to quick draft a novel or complete your NaNoWriMo project. Turn off that inner editor!
Use Your Tools – Whatever you need to write well, use it! I write best with music and coffee. If you do too, grab your headphones and head to your local coffee shop. A writing buddy of mine Brian, writes best with music like movie soundtracks or other soundtracks without words. Another friend of mine writes best while putting on a movie for background noise. Whatever it is that helps drive you, use it! If you’re not sure what your best writing conditions are, find it by trial and error. Visit that coffee shop. Stop at the library. Listen to that movie soundtrack. When you find what it is that lets you hit your word count quickly, use it like a tool (because it is one!).
Still on the fence about starting your writing project?
If you’re still on the fence about doing Camp NaNoWriMo, it’s not too late to jump in. In fact, there’s NO BETTER TIME THAN NOW.
Brian Le Tendre and I recorded a writing podcast recently in which we share our experiences with NaNoWriMo, ways to prepare and finish on time, and more. It’s free to listen and I think will really help to ease any fears you may have. Listen to it here! And listen to all of Brian’s podcasts here. Trust me, they rock (and they are free which makes them rock harder). Also, check out my recent post How to Make, Meet, and Exceed Your 2015 Writing Goals. There’s some fab resources there!
Are you doing Camp NaNoWriMo during April? What are your tips to win? What are you writing? I’d love to hear. Let me know in the comments below!