If you’re attempting to write a novel during the month of November, here’s some writing advice:
Fist of all, a story is as long as it has to be. That being said, a novel’s never going to be as long as you want it to be – even if you’re writing it for NaNoWriMo. I say this because some people might purposefully write nonsense with the clear goal of reaching that 50K words target… which makes little to no sense, but writers have been known to do even stranger things. So if your story ends somewhere at forty thousand words, no problem. Start writing a new one. I’m sure nothing too bad is going to happen.
Secondly, don’t focus on the destination. Yes, the goal is to write a grand total of 50K words during one month, but you should always remind yourself that you can only write one word at a time. That’s how things happen… one word at a time. It doesn’t matter if you plan and outline, it doesn’t matter if you covered an entire wall with post-its… you’re still going to write the damn thing one word at a time.
Have fun. Yes, it’s really important to enjoy this month. Don’t stress about the end product. Don’t think, just write. Don’t try to revise or edit… just write. Listen to some music and write. Walk around the room and write. Take advantage of every moment of free time and write.
If you get stuck, work on another scene. Inspiration is never linear – sometimes you might have the ending in your head. If you get stuck at a certain scene, write the ending… then work your way towards it. Or write a random scene you see happening during a later chapter. It doesn’t matter… it will come to you.
Lengthy brainstorming sessions during NaNoWriMo are responsible for most people failing to reach the goal. Because they take up a lot of time. But the funny thing is, you always get new ideas while you write, so there’s virtually no reason to stop writing just to stare at a wall and think what your characters are supposed to do next.
Close your eyes, visualize the story. Try to shut out the world around you. All your troubles and petty frustrations, all those stupid arguments… and just write. Like I previously said, no matter what you do or who you are, you can only write one word at a time. Just like I’m doing now… it doesn’t matter if you don’t know where you want to go, it doesn’t matter if you think you’re going nowhere, because here’s another funny thing about writing: you always arrive at a certain destination.
You always find something in your story, even if it’s not quite what you had imagined when you started writing.
The most I ever wrote was 5,000 words in six hours. I remember only a few other days when I was happier. Because I was happy… at the end of those six hours, even if it was 3 AM, I was listening to old jazz tunes and dancing. I didn’t know how my story would end, I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, but, you see, that’s what makes writing so great.
The journey, not the destination. The sides of the mountain, not the top.
You never know how much you’re going to write until you try to. You never know what might happen next. As long as you keep those fingers on the keyboard, you can achieve this target.
That’s why it’s so important not to stop. Not when you get stuck or feel stuck, not because you want to re-read what you wrote the day before… you’ll want to edit, and that itch won’t go away until you do so. Don’t stop to stare at wall and think about nonsense… it’s so easy to lose focus when you’re not staring at that your computer screen.