motivation

A long break – and NaNoWriMo!

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I apologise for the long break between posts. I’ve reblogged a couple of interesting posts lately, but have not put up any of my own. The main reason for this is that my mother passed away in September. I’ve been dealing with that and trying to get back into my work proofreading and converting books, but I’ve also been planning my next novel. This is something I’ve been wanting to get serious about and do for a while now, and it’s a good distraction from my grief.

I have signed up with NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month – to help me get focused and stay focused. For those of who don’t know what that is, it’s an event organised on the Internet for anyone who wants to write a novel and might need some motivation to just do it. Or if you just want to have fun while writing.

It was started in 1999 and originally had about 120 people doing it. Now it has thousands worldwide. It’s free to join and the goal is to write a first draft of a novel during the month of November. At least 50, 000 words in 30 days. If you reach the 50,000 word mark, you are declared a winner.

50,000 sounds like a lot, but if you break it down, it works out to be 1,667 words on average per day. You probably think that that’s still a lot of words, but it isn’t really. I can type that in about 40 minutes. Believe me. I’ve done it. Today even.

Today is the first day of NaNoWriMo and although the day isn’t over yet, I have written 3369 words already! And it was easy! When I get into the flow of writing, time flies by and the words just magically appear on my screen, and before I know it, I’ve written a chapter.

A lot of people on the Net have recommended doing “Word Sprints” to help you get going. All you do is set a timer for a short period of time, say 20 minutes. Think about what you’re going to write first, before you start. Have it cemented in your brain. Turn off all distractions. Then start the timer and just write. Don’t stop for anything (unless the house is on fire) and just let the words flow. The secret is not to try to edit as you go or think too much about whether it’s good writing or not. Just go.

Once your timer goes off, stop writing and take a break. I did my first one just after midnight, then another 20 minute sprint this morning after breakfast. And the third one was a bit longer because my timer didn’t go off for some reason. It was about 35 minutes.

So I got 930 words done first, then 968, then 1498. It wasn’t hard. The sprints made it easy and made it so I didn’t stress about it. I just did it.

The other advice is to not edit your draft while you write. Just concentrate on getting to the end. You can edit later. If there’s something you need to change, just make a note of it that you’ll act on when you edit, and just keep writing.

I hope you have signed up, or are thinking about it – I think you can still join now. You can meet other authors on the https://nanowrimo.org website, participate in the forums, get help, get pep talks and motivation, and attend meetups near you. Even if you have no intention of joining, go check out the website anyway.

I think this is just the kick in the pants I needed to get motivated and stay motivated. I can’t slack off now… everyone will know… lol.

If you’ve signed up too, let me know in the comments below.

 

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