Nanostuff.

Hello Friends.

Right now I am handing out candy all by myself. The baby is asleep and my husband and kids are out trick or treating and there are about five thousand kids walking our streets. I’m usually the one left behind and in the past it hasn’t been an issue but for some reason I feel a little scared.

If you don’t hear from me in the future, you’ll know what happened to me.

And now, for some nano discussion.

It starts tomorrow/today. Are you ready? Are you doing it? Here are some last minute tips

a. realize your house is going to get messier than usual, your kids are going to eat more corn dogs than usual, your exercise time may go down (because you all are avid exercisers, I know it). Make a conscious goal not to care. This is your month to write an ENTIRE NOVEL. Some things will have to take a backseat. But only for a bit. Don’t worry. You’ll have plenty of time to clean in December (ahahahahahhahahahahahahha)

b. have a plan (as carol discussed). I wrote about this a bit with the Susan Campbell Bartoletti post (and promised more from her discussion–I haven’t forgotten. It will come soon). Every day, when you finish with your 1600 or 2000+ words (depending on weekends on or off), make a few notes for the next day. What are your ideas for the short term trajectory of the story? Long term? What is working? What is not working? What characters do you want to explore more? Etc.

c. don’t be afraid to write out of order.If you get stuck or frustrated,  just write whatever you want. Play around. Play play play. For example. Let’s say your MC is bugging you–the dialogue is coming out wooden, you aren’t sure what should come next, your plot/plan is feeling too plotty or planny. What should you do? Take a break from your plan. Write the climax. Write the ending. Make someone punch your MC in the face and she what he/she does. Sometimes when you lose steam, you just have to get to know your MC better. Or the other characters better. This is never time wasted. Ever. So even if you’re scared that things are getting out of order, your character’s choices will make more sense and guide you in the way you need to go. If you get really worried, just make some notes to yourself to help you get back on track.

d. you can write a bad draft. don’t get hung up in the details. Let yourself really write. I have a problem with this. I tend to  rewrite sentence after sentence rather than moving forward. This can be pretty stifling.  Give yourself permission to write a bad draft if that’s what you need to do. If you prefer to do it the other way, then realize it’s going to take more time.

e. know your own body. I’m serious about this. The past few months I’ve been trying to write late at night. Fail. I tried getting up in the morning. Fail. So then I tried sitting around eating chocolate. YAY! Not really. What I realized was none of it will work if I don’t get enough sleep (I calculated Susan Campbell Bartoletti’s hours of sleep–she gets six. I need more than six) so the past week I tried going to bed RIGHT after my kids did. Eight o’ clock. This was a sacrifice for me but it allowed me to get up around two, feed the baby and then write for a few hours in the middle of the night and then go back to sleep. This is a little crazy but I felt so good and refreshed in the morning and I had already written! I’m not sure how long I could maintain this type of schedule but maybe for nanowrimo? What is best for you? Can you get up earlier? Can you stay up later? Can you turn down book club this month? Tivo your favorite shows and save them for December? How can you make it work for you?

f. eat good food. You need energy.

g. write with friends. I can’t tell you how good this is for momentum. It’s one thing to have a writer’s group (you should have a writer’s group, P.S.), it’s another to sit and write with someone. Writing can be lonely and easy to avoid. Like exercise, if you do it with a friend, you’re apt to do it longer, harder, and more consistently. You don’t want to stop because they aren’t stopping. You can make goals together. You can have rewards together. You can talk about celebrities together. It’s fun.

h. don’t be sad if you miss a day. just make it up the next or spread it around.

i. have fun. this is supposed to be fun.

AND ONE MORE: J. if you can’t do 2000 words a day, try fifty. Or five hundred. Make November a recommitment to writing month if a novel is out of reach. Try revising ten pages a day. Or sitting down to write thirty minutes a day. Whatever you can do.

I have more but this is long and I keep getting interrupted and I’m a little disturbed by the costumes this year. A lot of slashers.

any more tips from veterans?

can’t wait to hear how it goes for everyone. xo

6 Comments

Filed under Ann Dee

6 responses to “Nanostuff.

  1. a paragraph. that’s my goal. thank you for telling me it’s okay to make simple ones. 🙂

  2. Elizabeth Dimit

    Thanks to you and Carol for your WOW (words of wisdom!) I’m giving it a shot. I have some pages of my book written, but NaNoMo will give me the swift kick in the pants that I need. 🙂 It’s good to know your strengths and weaknesses and work with them, not against them. Especially if you have more weaknesses than strengths, like me. 🙂

  3. Ann Dee, I don’t think you’ve ever really met me. I think you did come talk in Carol’s class while I was in it. But we didn’t shake hands or anything, and I didn’t say, “Hi, I’m Robin,” and you didn’t say “Hi, I’m Ann Dee.” But that’s ok, cause I still want to say thanks for points c and d in particular. D most of all, though. I am very very very bad about d. But I want to finish my novel. So thanks for the permission. Also, I dressed up as “Autumn” this year. If I had come to your door, you wouldn’t have been scared.

  4. CLW

    Excellent comments, Ann Dee. You are so smart.
    I love reading what you write.

  5. Thank you Ann Dee. I especially needed d. Thank you for giving us permission to write a bad draft. Cause that’s mostly what it will be. But so what. It’s a draft. Drafts have to be rewritten.

    Thanks for all the tips!

  6. Throckmorten

    Andy, doesn’t writing a bad first draft lead to a fossilization of bad writing habits? I think the saying “garbage, garbage out applies here.”

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