Each November, I participate in National Novel Month. This year is my sixth writing a novel during November. If you aren’t familiar with Nano, you can find out more about it here. This is the second week of Nano, and I would like to share some tips and tricks that I use to make Nano fun but practical to make it to 50,000 words.
Tip One– Make Nano fun! One way I make Nano fun is to create a soundtrack for my writing. To do this, I create a playlist in Spotify to listen to when I write. Have a listen if you have Spotify.
Tip Two – Use the playlist to drive your story. The songs I pick for the soundtrack are intentional. I used them to set the tone for scenes, describe characters, and as topics for discussions.
Tip Three- Get Creative- I write using the software Scrivener; each day I sit down to write, I hit shuffle on my playlist and name the days writing after the song that plays first.
Tip Four- Write out of Order- I highly recommend this. I write out of order because it is important to keep momentum. Seth Godin says that we learned to walk by walking poorly, and then one day we were walking just fine, and don’t really pay attention to how we walk. This is because walking is a habit; look to build a habit in your writing.
Tip Five – It is all about the word count. Your goal is to get to 50,000 words. The only thing you should be concerned with is the word count- don’t fall into the tap of thinking about- how the book feels, or looks, all of this can be done in the editing process. I have seen too many people quit because they are afraid of what they are writing or tell themselves it’s not good enough. This is an excuse. It is not a good reason to stop writing. There are good reasons to stop writing, illness, loss of a family member, and job loss. Your personal insecurities or psychological hangups are not valid reasons to quit. Remember rule #6, get over yourself. You made a commitment to yourself, don’t be so easy to break that commitment. Seth Godin said this” The world doesn’t need another book, but it needs your book. We need you to be creative, we need you to share your creativity!
Tip Six– Make sure your creativity is competing against the right opponent. I hear this a lot, I am just too busy; work is killing me. This is valid, but again it’s a false dichotomy. We all need to work; most people work 8-12 hours a day. We aren’t asking you to write for 8-12 hours a day. Do this instead, go on your iPhone, check out the screentime app, and see how much time you spend on Social Media, Streaming platforms, etc. I did this myself; I saw that I had spent 28 minutes on Facebook, so I said I would spend 28 minutes writing. I divided it up into two 10 minutes sections and one 8 minute section. In 28 minutes, I wrote 1200 words. To hit 50,000 words, you only need to do 1667 a day. You have 28 minutes to write each day. I understand and can sympathize with I am too busy at work too write, but I won’t sympathize with, ” Facebook is too overwhelming to be creative and that Netflix show is too good. Being creative is about sacrificing. Don’t sacrifice your job, if you do you won’t be able to pay your bills, but what do you lose if you sacrifice social media or streaming? Nothing, but guess what you gain your creativity and you will have something to show. Something that you made!
Tip 7– Write in Community! Nano has a robust writing community worldwide. I have written with other writers in the zoom, youtube, and text and chat on Facebook and discord across multiple platforms.
Tip 8– Have fun! Again back to this one. Don’t take yourself so seriously. You aren’t doing Nano to pay the mortgage, and if you are, I think you had better quit and find a paying job that will allow you to pay the mortgage. Nano is fun, and it is an act of generosity to create something and tell other people that you made it. This year I have been editing the book I wrote last year. My goal is to publish it on the Amazon Kindle Platform, and at the end of November, I will edit this story to publish it. I am a dad who is homeschooling his child. I work over forty hours a week as a School Administrator, and I am also in a Master’s Degree Program. I host a weekly podcast and a weekly blog; if I can do it, you can do it too. I am imperfect, sloppy, insecure, anxious, prone to internal anger, regret, and discouragement. I have a bad habit of choosing negative thoughts first and have a daily war with being thankful. Yet I know how to show up, and if you are doing Nano or any other creative work, keep going!