Let’s talk about writing ADD. It’s a thing.
You get an idea for a novel after listening to the words of a song or seeing someone walking through Walmart. Your mind goes wild with ideas and plot details.
You get obsessive about it and tell your loved ones who either a) get excited, like you haven’t described a hundred story ideas before or b) smile and nod and don’t even pretend they’re not listening to it.
Then you start writing your exciting new novel because you just can’t wait. You whip out five pages in your first writing session, then go and tell even more people about your plot idea.
You work on it for another session, but then take a little break…and even more breaks. But you’re still thinking about it and the few magical scenes you’ve created in your mind.
And one day, you finally ask yourself, what’s the point of this? What’s the plot? But these questions don’t lead to action. They lead to starting the whole cycle over again after you’re inspired by a note you found on the side of the road.
Does this sound familiar to anyone? Or is it just me?
I’ve (casually) tried to write a novel since I was a kid, but three things usually happen:
a) I get bored of the story before writing it.
b) I lack direction with myself and with the story (i.e., no goals, no outline).
c) I don’t work on the story enough and have to reread everything before I can continue.
Whipping out a quick first draft may be the perfect option for someone like me. And what would be better than joining thousands of other people for NaNoWriMo to achieve a lifelong dream?
Here’s how I’m going to prepare and you can too:
Who will be your support as you work your butt off to write a novel in 30 days? Who will cheer you on and remind you that you can do this?
Don’t keep it to yourself because you’re worried people will think your goal is crazy. Keep in touch with the people who will be your greatest support.
The first step I took when I considered participating in NaNoWriMo was to talk to my husband. Whenever I have a goal or something I want to accomplish, his support is vital because our lives are so intertwined.
Is there anyone who can help keep you on track?
Get In the Right Mindset
Some people worry that writers who take part in NaNoWriMo think their novel will be ready for the press at the end of the 30 days. I’m not worried about that for myself, but still, I’ll keep reminding myself:
This is just a first draft.
My goal is to write and not look back until my draft is finished. This is so hard for me. The backspace button is my best friend, but also my worst enemy.
In her book Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott says,
“Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere. Start by getting something—anything—down on paper.”
I’ve been implementing this in my blog, but have yet to use this process for fiction writing.
Another thing I need to remember is:
I can work hard.
Writing a novel in 30 days won’t be easy, but I know that doing it will bring me such a sense of fulfillment. I can spend 30 days working hard to finish something I’ve always wanted to do.
And if I can do it, I know you can do it.
Work on Character Development
Not knowing my characters well enough has resulted in problems in the past. This time, I want to understand who they are to the core before I start writing. I’m confident this will help me write a lot quicker and more smoothly.
These two posts provide excellent ideas for developing strong characters:
33 Ways to Write Stronger Characters from Well Storied
How to Develop the Voice of Your Character from The Writing Kylie
Do you plan to create an outline for your novel? I’ve never been an outliner, but I’ve seen the error in my ways.
This blog post describes four different methods of outlining. Do any of these processes sound like something you’d like to try?
I already have a basic outline for my novel, but I’ll create a more in-depth plan that details each chapter and my entire story structure.
Nothing inspires me to write well like a good book. I plan to cram as many novels into my life as I can before NaNoWriMo begins.
I’ll also read some writing books, including 5,000 Words Per Hour: Write Faster, Write Smarter (because who wouldn’t want to be able to do that?!) and bits of Bird by Bird (it’s pretty much my writing Bible).
What book(s) would inspire you to produce your best writing? Is there anything in your chosen genre that you already know you love or something you’ve wanted to read?
Make a Plan
If you write every single day in November, you’ll need to produce approximately 1667 words each day. But will you be able to write every single day?
What do you have going on in November? Will you be traveling for the holiday? How can you plan so that nothing gets in the way of accomplishing your goal?
I’ll be traveling for Thanksgiving, and I also don’t write on Sundays, so I plan to increase my daily word count to make sure I stay on track.
What’s your plan for writing each day?
If you don’t already write regularly, try to choose a time of the day when it will be easiest for you to write.
Do you think you could get all of your writing done in one sitting or would it be better for you to split it up?
I’d love to hear about your NaNoWriMo plans and progress! Describe your novel in the comments below! If you’ve taken part in NaNoWriMo before, I’d love to hear about your experiences.
Visit me at @thehopefulwriterblog on Instagram so we can share our NaNoWriMo progress.