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5 SECRETS TO WIN NANOWRIMO by Kay Vreeland
The bubbly high of the NaNoWriMo kick-off fades by Week Two, and intervention is called for. How did I get out of this dreaded slough and stay on track to win? Basics rule the day!
My Basic #1 was a book that I returned to again and again, No Plot? No Problem! by the founder of NaNoWriMo, Chris Baty (also a NaNo buddy). My local indie bookstore had a window display for NaNo, and a stack of this book—the solid foundation of my month. My favorite page on days of despair? The tip sheet—where I learned about “the extended name,” and gave my heroine a double name, thus adding more words automatically! This and five other “cheap padding techniques” re-energized me more than once.
My Basic #2 was easy: writing apps, because I need the spur of apps; the white screen = no good. It’s the app that gets my engine going. 750 words.com is my base with its word count, its vault where each day is saved, where the first word splat of the day takes place and in 2015, and the daily Write page’s pop-up when I get to that day’s NaNo count. Scrivener is the workhorse, the writer’s office and filing cabinet. Creating a writing screen there with a novel-scene background was magic, or use their tip: write on blue screen with white font to relax the eyes.
#3 for me was to reach out to my buddies, to let their word counts spur me on, to send them a booster note, to get a write-in going nearby, to put the local mascot (ours in Seattle is a yellow rubber duckie) on the table in every coffee shop and library I worked in. I needed to feel the support, use the energy—I even did my own Night of Writing Dangerously. Remember, @NaNoWriMo itself is a buddy: follow on Twitter and Facebook Page. @NaNoWordSprints came to the rescue more than once.
Then, the inevitable, #4: just do the words. I’m a pantser, so this was not difficult, in fact, it was fun, and I did have my “outline”: 16 chapters with cool titles, so 2 days per chapter. Just Do It, I’d growl at myself, your 1667 a day, grind them out, on autopilot if you must, but get there. Onward! was my cry. I put writing prompts on flash cards and just pulled one out when tempted to shift into reverse and look over previous pages; I’d go for a walk and note five things along the way, come back and put them in the writing one way or another.
And, #5 was, inevitably, sheer grit. I believed I would do it, one day at a time. Boosts worked well on days of severe discouragement, but in the end, sheer grit got me to the winner’s blue ribbon. And then, my personal reward? A coil-bound “book” from FedEx Office.
And of these, 2 and 5 were my aces, what will be yours?
No Plot? No Problem! https://store.nanowrimo.org/merchandise/no-plot-no-problem-autographed
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