*Exhales deeply, tries not to pass out from exertion.*
If you’re like me and just wrapped up NaNo, congratulations!
If you’re still working away, keep going! I believe in you.
If you have no clue what NaNoWriMo is, I’d like to direct you here. Basically, the National Novel Writing Month is your chance to throw caution and careful prose to the wind and write a 50,000 word novel in November. Thirty days, 1,667 words on each of them.
This is my second time completing NaNoWriMo, but this time, instead of the full month, I did it in three weeks. How? How did I manage this on top of battling my way through all my classes?
Well, it helps that I was enrolled in an awesome Creative Writing class (English 190T, for all you Stanford folks out there who want to drive yourself crazy and have a blast doing it) full of other students also doing NaNoWriMo. And it definitely helped to have a group of classmates and teachers cheering me on.
But here are the tricks that helped me most.
- Write every day. It doesn’t need to be a ton. Maybe just try for 500 words. For me, I forced myself to get at least 1,667 words every single day, even if I really didn’t want to. Often, I ended up writing more—sometimes I even got up past 3,000. It gave me such a nice safety net. But then the next day, when I was ahead, I didn’t let myself take a break. I just kept going.
- Find other people to write with. I think this applies not just to NaNo but to any time you’re trying to get some writing in—it’s super useful to have friends struggling with you!
- Type fast. No, seriously. I know a lot of people love handwriting their stories, but typing is the key to my success. You can reach your word count way faster at sixty words a minute than at ten (which, I swear, is probably the speed at which I write by hand).
- Get on an airplane with nothing else to do. Yeah, so this was probably my big secret. I was flying to Hawaii for a family vacation and I didn’t really want to write while I was there. Incentive? Unfortunately, I was only at 42,000 words. So I buckled down and I wrote. And wrote and wrote and wrote.
And that’s how I won.