Wednesday, November 5, 2014

#NANO2014 Series: Tips on Defeating Your Low Word Counts

It's that time of year again. You know, when millions of writers talk themselves into writing insanity, in a group. Yes, National Novel Writing Month is alive and roaring again. We are five days into the craziness. My twitter feed is jam packed with a combination of positive and negative posts. Everything from conversations with our word counts (come on admit it!) to word count shout outs to self defeating mumbles.

It's these downer posts I'm addressing here. Or rather, the reasons behind them. For the most part, each of these negative posts fall into one of two categories. Either the writer is struggling to cling to the shreds of the inspirational plot that lead them to participate. Or, like me, time availabilty is against them.

I wanted to give a few tips on how to deal with either of these situations.

Wrestle the Muse Tip - Identify the Stop Sign

If your #NANO word count is suffering from a lack of direction, you might consider stepping back from your word count and doing some novel related studying. What is it about your word count that is resisting being written? If it's a character, consider writing a short paragraph about that/those character(s). See my antagonist interview here for more ideas on questions to consider. If it's a lack of action or movement in the plot, consider drawing a timeline or writing out a short synopsis. (I'm eyeballing you, pantsers! Just try it, don't fight it!)

Also, don't forget that the amazing organizers of NANO have a virtual write-in planned in about 2 hours! It includes some prompts and sprints designed to get those keys clicking! Check it out here.

Wrestle the Clock Tip - Prioritize

If you're like me, you are racing the clock or trying like mad to make writing time fit into the 24 hours you have to get the word count entered on your profile. Last night, after complaining to my husband, who barely heard me over his latest Netflix venture, I realized the only real problem I had was how I chose to prioritize my time. If I wanted to make sure I won NANO, I needed to write every day. That is the bottom line. So I could either resist sleep and hope I made it each evening or I could write first thing in the morning. I made the decision to stick with evening writing. That meant removing dish washing and T.V. time from my nights. The dishes can be done earlier in the day and my daughter can help. I'm okay with that.

The choice to write is yours and yours alone. Make a list of what you are doing each day, and line out one or two activities you can give up for 25 days to focus on this much bigger goal. I'm behind you 100%, and I can confidently say that last year this worked for me as well. I won NANO and that novel has gotten some serious industry attention. Don't give up on your novel, just give up on the things that may be sucking the time out of it's potential.

Are you battling the muse or the clock? I'd love to hear your battle story in the comments below!


1 comment:

  1. Things that may be sucking the time out.... Man the list could go on forever. I really need to be better at protecting my writing time. I allow other people/things to take up time I have allocated for writing and then I kick myself afterward for letting it happen. I should just kick them instead ;)