[Nanowrimo 09] Survival Tips

These were written because I suspect some of those on my F-List have not started at all. Starting can be the hardest thing in the world, but take heart!

1. You must start.
Starting can be as simple as saying: Her name was Amelia. That’s it. All you need to do is just start. It can be a single sentence, or, in the case of [William], “The End.” Then let the story flow. By starting, you would have put yourself FAR AHEAD of the many others who say that they’ll write a novel but take their stories to the grave.

2. You CAN write.
If you can read this, you can write. If you’ve ever left a comment behind, you can write. Writing is not hard to do, it takes willpower and determination (and in some cases, pure compulsion).

Which leads me to the next point:

3. Yes, it’s sucky.
Your work during Nanowrimo is a work in progress. It’s a rough draft. As Anthony Piers and Chris Baty (the founder of Nanowrimo) have pointed out, it’s completely normal. So go ahead. Let loose. Just write. By the end of that period, you’ll have discovered more reasons to write within yourself than you would have otherwise tried at any other point of your life.

4. Nanowrimo Dares are the most under-used weapon in any Wrimo’s arsenal.
This little thread (that’s actually thread 2, there’s a thread part 1 somewhere) should be bookmarked. Or the forum where they reside should be bookmarked. Dares help you get over the rough spots where you don’t know what to write, or when you’re facing a writer’s block. Using a dare often leads to new places and plots, and in some cases, might make your novel change for the better.

Think of dares as friendly helping hands to get you over rough spots.

5. Never, ever reread.
And lock up your inner editor while you’re at it. The aim of Nanowrimo has always been to pound out as much words as you can. Which brings me to my last survival tip:

6. Try, as you might, not to write alone.
Or at least embark on Nanowrimo solo. The three years I went at it solo (as in I was the only one I knew in my vicinity doing Nanowrimo), I failed horribly. I hit only 20k at the maximum. In 2007, I met great friends who spurred me on to greater heights. It’s part competition, part encouragement.

Like quitting smoking, get a friend who’s either doing Nanowrimo, or can be counted to encourage, push, punish, prod, or if needed, verbally beat you into hitting that word count. In most cases this is usually your ML (in Malaysia we call her the Mothership) but if you can’t really get in touch with your ML, your friends will do.

Go for write-ins. Take part in word wars online and in the IRC channel. Jump into the forums. Nanowrimo is best experienced and enjoyed with a bunch of like-minded friends.

Just remember to write.

I hope this helps. Happy Sailing, Dear Wrimo Person, and may we cross the finish line together.