Make it Through NaNoWriMo

Make it Through NaNoWriMo

We're nearly done with NaNoWriMo, people! Have you been keeping up with your writing goals? Have you been reasonable and methodical and written 1,666 words a day, or are you flailing, thousands of words behind? Even if your NaNoWriMo project is going down in flames, writers, never fear; we here at Teen Ink are here to help you get back on track. Here are some quick and dirty ways to get the words flowing and to cross that literary finish line.

First: The Practical: Set Yourself Up for Success

The words will never flow if you haven't actually set yourself up to be a writer this month. That means following a few simple rules. It's surprising how liberating rules can be for our creative process, if we allow them to make everything but our daydreams get out of our minds. So first: set yourself a time for writing. EVERY day this month. The time must be the same, and it must be an absolutely holy chunk of time that you give yourself. That writing time is sacred and nothing can come between you and it. No television show, no hangout with friends, no ballet lesson, is more important than writing to you during this time. It could be that single hour when you come home from school and normally goof off before you get to homework; it might be the time in the morning after you've eaten breakfast; it might be the last hour before you go to bed. Wherever you carve off that slice of time, it is now WRITING TIME.

Second: block out distractions.

Just because we're sitting in front of our computer for the required time does not mean writing will get done in today's modern age, does it? We slip over to Twitter for a moment, then Facebook, just to quickly check, and before we know it, the hour is gone. NO MORE. During the writing hour, the internet is banned. If you must, you can download internet blocker software. Whatever you must do to help your self-control along, do it. The internet will still be there in an hour; you WILL SURVIVE without it. And you and your writing will be better off without it.

Third: get inspired. By making a PLAN.

Novel-writing is different from freewriting or storywriting or poem-writing because it does require a bit of planning, just a little structure, to help hold up the whole delicate sculpture you're trying to erect. So when you sit down for your writing hour, pull out a notebook or a completely separate document on your computer and take your notes. These notes will be your very basically sketched-out plan for WHAT MUST HAPPEN in the story today. Today your protagonist is at the party with that guy she likes. Today she is driving down the road in the desert toward the person who murdered her friend. Today he is climbing the last little stretch of Mount Everest before the summit. In your notes, set yourself a few big goals of WHAT MUST HAPPEN in the scene you write today. Tell yourself what characters must be encountered and what their status must be by the end of the scene: dead or alive, hurt or in love.

Fourth: go, go go!

Okay, now you're ready. You have the time and the mindspace. You have the knowledge of what must happen. SO MAKE IT HAPPEN. Get out there and write the scene. Don't look back and don't make changes. Don't hesitate and don't vacillate and don't prevaricate. Just write what happens next. NaNoWriMo was not meant for cowards. And it wasn't meant for lazies, either. If you want to accomplish this great literary achievement, then you must take it seriously and strive on. So get a move-on, writers!