Everyone knows that National Novel Writing Month is a deadly grind which few survive. 50 000 words in a month? Unpossible. Perhaps even inconceivable!
But fear not, I am here to offer these great tips that will power you through the month to victory and probably a publishing deal that will make you at least as rich as Stephen King. Probably not as rich as J.K. Rowling, though. She’s pretty rich.
Anyway, I recommend reading through them all before beginning your implementation.
1. You must write all the time
It is a well known fact that for NaNoWriMo, you must write all the time. There is no time for anything else in the month of November. You’re trying to write 50 000 words. That is so many words. How can you ever achieve it without lugging your laptop everywhere as a reminder of your burden? Going to the bathroom? you’ve got time to tap out a few words. Brushing your teeth? Balance the laptop on the toilet and type with your toes. Let the warm glow of the laptop soothe you to sleep until you pass out over it. The bus? Watching TV? You must write, write, and when you have written everything you can, write some more. Not gifted with a portable laptop? Do you have a smartphone, or even a small notebook? You can be writing. Don’t have those? Consider a tattoo gun and your own flesh. The world is your manuscript! But you must never stop writing. There simply isn’t time.
2. Don’t tell your family and friends what you’re doing
Your family and friends are subconsciously jealous of your future success, and may even try to sabotage you by interfering with your frantic, furious typing. Deep down, they want to hold you back or distract you. Don’t let them. Deny that you’ll be attempting NaNoWriMo. When asked about November, explain that you’ll be spending the month in isolation, meditating on the secrets of the universe, or maybe that you’ve taken up World of Warcraft or something. Under no circumstances should you let your friends and family know what you’re trying to accomplish. If you’re confronted about your lack of availability, consider knocking out the questioner with the secretion of the Maji-Maki frog. They’ll come to 12-24 hours later with strange, tiger-like marks on their bodies, but they won’t remember a thing.
3. Compare yourself with others
Everybody knows NaNoWriMo is a race. A race to finish first. What isn’t well known is that the non-profit that puts on NaNoWriMo offers secret prizes for those who finish first. They include, but are not limited to, a lifetime supply of coffee enemas, a golden statue of a naked Chris Baty, and a publishing deal with Penguin Random House. How do you win them? By writing the most words, the fastest, of course. That’s why it is essential that you constantly compare your word output to others. Otherwise, how will you know if you’re winning?
4. Focus, focus, focus
Are you operating heavy machinery, or undergoing surgery, or otherwise unable to put finger, toe, or chin to keyboard? If by some chance you are unable to be writing, you must focus your attention slavishly on your novel, to the exclusion of all other thoughts. You must let your novel consume you like the fires of the sun. There is always something to be thinking about. Always. Should your hero succeed in his madcap quest to consume every cheeseburger, or will your villain halt their progress by garnishing the last quarter pounder with kale? Should the space ship’s flux capacitor fail, or should the hydrospanner? Should you use a comma or a period? There are always things to decide and heaven help you if you arrive at them without knowing what you’ll do. The process of writing this novel must consume your life.
5. Edit as you go
Everything that you write in NaNoWrimo must be good. It must be better than good. It must be perfect. Or else, how will you be ready for the mass acceptance of nano novels by publishers in December? It is a little known fact that publishers sit around, staring at their inboxes, for most of the year. Only in December, with the influx of nano-novels, do they have things to publish. Thus, once you’ve written something, be sure to go back and edit it. There won’t be time later. Doing it while it’s fresh in your mind is the only way to ensure that it is suitably perfect.
6. Follow the rules diligently
Did you know that you can be kicked out of NaNoWriMo for failing to follow Chris Baty’s draconian commandments? For example, you must write exactly 1667 words a day, or you’re doing it wrong and could be disqualified (missing out on the chance for those coffee enemas). You may not work on an old project. It must be new. Failure to adhere to these rules are the real reason that so few people finish NaNoWriMo. Don’t let yourself be one of them!
7. Let inspiration guide you
You can’t force writing. In order for your masterful work to flow from your fingertips, the muses must take you by the hand and lead you delicately forward. Compared to that, the work you do when you’re not inspired is mud. Literally, mud. Why would you want your novel to be mud? Await your inspiration. It will be worth it.
8. Wait until the end
YOU HAVE LOTS OF TIME. Of course you should spend the first week of November in a Breaking Bad marathon. You have time to catch up!
9. Only write during NaNoWriMo
One month of writing a year is enough, especially if you want to take your writing further. The other eleven months are for other things. Like not writing. And Breaking Bad.
10. Don’t follow any of these tips
Really. I’ve done NaNoWriMo for a long time, and these are all examples of behaviour that I’ve seen (or sometimes done myself). Ultimately, there are a lot of ways to win NaNoWriMo, and it’s really a personal challenge rather than a race, but engaging in the above behaviour is really just a way to sabotage yourself. Don’t do it, and happy writing!