Whether it’s your first time or your tenth, here are some things to keep in mind as you write that novel.
This isn’t an ultimate guide by any means. Just some bad advice from an aspiring writer.
- Take it word by word. Don’t worry about the 10,000th word or the 100,000th word. Think about the next one.
- Edit later. Writing is hard enough as it is. Stop making the creative process harder for yourself. Besides, you can always fix your mistakes later.
- Use good tools. If you prefer pen and paper, pick something that writes well. If you prefer typing, choose the word processor you like best. You don’t have to break the bank, but your tool needs to do its job.
- Write the scene you want. Feel free to jump around from the beginning to the ending to the middle.
- Enjoy yourself. Play your favourite songs. Have a drink nearby. Grab a snack or ten.
- Live a little. Actually, live a lot. Go outside. Experience the world so you’re able to tell rich stories. You can’t shut yourself inside all day and night.
- Have good posture. Your future self will thank you.
- Keep your mind open. Don’t shoot down your ideas right away. Sometimes the craziest idea turns out better than you could ever imagine.
- Challenge yourself. You’re capable of accomplishing far more than you give yourself credit for.
With Camp NaNoWriMo approaching in 4 days, I figured I would help those of you who are participating in the way that I know best. Advice-giving via this blog.
So before you plunge into the beautifully daunting task of writing a novel, remember:
Write first. Edit later.
Now I know I’ve preached the above before, but it’s still a great piece of advice to follow. Even better, it applies to just about every writing project you’ll ever undertake. Besides, you can’t edit nothing. So get the words on the paper. Worry about how everything sounds after. You have thirty-one days to write. You have all the time in the world to edit. A mild exaggeration there.
Obviously, I don’t expect you to follow everything I say or preach. You aren’t a child or a dog. You’re a writer. And hopefully, soon, you’ll be a novelist.
Dear Prospective NaNoWriMo-ers,
NaNoWriMo is about finishing your novel. It’s not about finishing it well.
A writer who’s been there and done that.
A little bit more about me. Each fact is accompanied with a picture which explains why I had to work on this post for the past two weeks. After reading, you might conclude I am a boring, normal, and average person. If that’s the case, you are correct.
When is my life not boring, normal, or average? When I am writing.
16 Random Facts About Me
- I have natural highlights. Emphasis on natural. They don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.
- I am a huge fan of the band Simple Plan. Check out the door hanger I made during class.
- I have read most of Christopher Pike’s books. I can’t wait to read Chain Letter and the fifth installment of Thirst which I purchased at Chapters a little while back. Also, I vow to keep them in pristine condition.
- I like being neat, organized, and keeping everything clean. A before and after of my drawer.
- I received my very first writing related check of $25 in the mail. Don’t judge me. This happened in grade 9.
- My personal Facebook account has a display picture of me in the middle of a one handed cartwheel. Seriously. I spend as much time dancing as I do writing. OK maybe not.
- I participated and successfully completed NaNoWriMo twice. Writing a novel in a month is challenging but worthwhile.
- I think crossword puzzles are a great way of passing time. And this is my somewhat fail attempt at doing one.
- I used to wear braces. I still use retainers.
- My very first novel was called “Breaking Ground.” I started it in grade 8 and finished it in grade 10 after writing 73,336 words.
- I’ve collected Ikea catalogs since 2009. When I was young, I had an obsession with interior design and real estate. I still do.
- I want to travel across all 50 states in the United States. So far I’ve visited Boston, New York, and Chicago.
- I never leave home without my lip gloss. Although, I rarely use or put on any other type of make-up since I prefer going natural, I still love wearing lip gloss.
- I’m an emotional eater. Whenever I’m upset or depressed, I will devour anything in sight particularly, chips of any kind, any brand, and any flavour.
- I own 5 bottles of nail polish. Only 5. I have no intentions of purchasing more.
- I have horrendous eyesight. I wear contacts or glasses all the time.
Camp NaNoWriMo is drawing to a close. Remember when July 1st rolled around?
The Start Of July = Camp NaNoWriMo Madness Begins
More importantly, participating in this month long endeavour has given me a few lessons I will surely take down the road as a writer, a student, and as a person.
I’ve come a long way from not having any idea to nearly having a first draft of a novel complete in one month.
NaNoWriMo has taught me 10 unforgettable things that not only apply to writers but to students and even to average human beings.
I’ve learned (in no particular order):
- To always plan ahead.
- To develop a (writing) routine and stick with it.
- To allocate more time than necessary to complete a project.
- To silence the inner editor/critic/perfectionist.
- To learn when and how to say no.
- To stay efficient.
- To avoid distractions.
- To keep my sanity intact.
- To live a little.
- And anything is possible. You just have to want and work for it.
I am not saying you cannot use these words. I am mentioning them because most of the words below are used either too frequently or become so redundant in your writing, it would be wise to limit your use of these words. Which is why repeating some of these words over and over and over again can make your writing either really boring at best or weaken your writing at worst. As a writer you don’t ever want to risk sounding boring, incompetent, or unqualified.
Hey, a quick search of your manuscript, novel, or essay might surprise you. You never know.
So find some of the words below, weed them out, and watch as your writing grows stronger.
- A lot
Especially useful for those of you who participated in Camp NaNoWriMo a.k.a. National Novel Writing Month. Your novel can certainly do without most of the words mentioned above.
I cannot believe that July is right around the corner. Which means Camp NaNoWriMo is starting again.
Are you participating? Are you attempting such a feat? Are you ready?
Can you do it? 50,000 words in one month? All from scratch?
Dare to take the challenge? Or are you modifying the word count to accommodate your hectic schedule and responsibilities? Whatever it is, just remember to have fun. Don’t stress yourself out. Breathe. Be happy!
Excited? Nervous? Anxious? Scared? Happy? Prepared? Ready?
Remember writing is difficult. Writing a novel is even more difficult. But I applaud you, great writer, for challenging yourself mentally, emotionally, psychologically, and even physically.
Good luck to everyone taking part this year.
Get ready. Get set. And you’re almost ready to go!