Wednesday, 4 November 2009

NaNoWriMo Success List

For AW Blog Chain this month we are talking about survival list for writers. Those who are participating in NaNoWriMo are talking about that specifically. I have already done my NaNo Arsenal Post, so now I will list what I think will make NaNoWriMo effort a successful one - at least for me.
  1. It is limited, fixed time goal - one month, first draft. That's it. I am not trying to write a publishable book. That comes with editing. I am just trying to finish a first draft. With that one fixed goal, there is no faffing about. No lack of focus. And certainly no flitting around from one project to another.
  2. Word Count Matters (because I am prepared) - I know some people do NaNo by just focusing on word count, regardless of what they write. That is not my purpose. I am aiming for one complete, and hopefully coherent story. But if I were to start thinking about what's good and what isn't now, I wouldn't get very far. So I prepared myself with a detailed outline. I anguished over the plot when I was outlining. So now, writing the first draft, I just have to move from one point in the outline to next one, without worrying about plot holes. It doesn't mean I rigidly follow it, because my outline is quite flexible. But it simply means that I know what sort of direction the story is heading in. That helps. Because then I can start writing without having to worry about what I am going to write next.
  3. I have made this my top priority for this month - again, this helps and is possible because it's for a limited time. For one month I can say that everything else is secondary. I can't do that for a whole year. It doesn't mean I don't do anything else (after all, I am writing this post), but simply that I keep in mind that I must meet my minimum word count goal and carry on forward, and leave myself enough time in the day to do so. And for those with busy life styles, I assure you I haven't got all leisure time. I work full-time, have many interests, and can't stop reading blogs. So you have to make time.
  4. Finn is amazingly useful - Finn is the new netbook I bought. I just happened to want it and get it in time for NaNoWriMo which has been godsend because now I can actually write in the bus when I commute to work. Believe me, it is amazing feeling when I get off from the bus at 8:00 am to start my working day, with 600 words already behind me.
  5. Competition helps - yes, I am competitive. Not insanely, mind you. But when I see other people posting on AW forums how many words they have done in the day, it motivates me to keep writing. Don't push yourself to do what you can't handle, because your life isn't same as everyone else's. You may have more demands on your time than those who stack up words like Paris Hilton stacks up best friends. But, also keep in mind that if someone else can write 2000 words in 2 hours, so can you. It doesn't mean you have to, or you should. But you could. That's the point. To grow. To stretch yourself.
  6. Find joy in productivity - As I mentioned, just having done some words in the morning starts my day with a positive feeling. After those morning words, I am usually not able to write until I finish work, but when I do start in the evening, I am not starting at 0. As I add more words to my draft, I have the joy of creating a story that will be completed very shortly, and then I can work on making it better. It's a joy of creating something that is uniquely your own. It's your story. It's your words. It's beautiful experience.
  7. Aim High - I could have aimed for 50K. But I thought, if I am going to do this, might as well do it extreme. 50K isn't going to give me a full novel. So I am going to finish a full first draft in November. Before November I wasn't sure I could do it. Now I know I can, and I will. It's simply a matter of pushing myself that little bit further.
  8. Have a Reward - You must have a reward that you value after all that hard work. And I am in luck, because Sims 3 Expansion Pack comes out on November 20. When a new expansion pack comes out, I like to get obsessed with it for at least 2 weeks. So when I finish the first draft, I get to binge on Sims 3 for a couple of weeks before starting to edit this NaNoWriMo novel. And you know what? Now, I want to finish this novel as close to 20th as possible, because I so want to get my hands on that game. So find something that works for you.

Of course most of these things could apply to day-to-day writing as well, so take what you like. :) Now, I must actually get on with my writing.

Here is the list of participants in this month's blog chain 1. DavidZahir - 2. shethinkstoomuch - 3. Lost Wanderer - 4. aimeelaine - 5. Ravencorinncarluk - 6. Bsolah - 7. Charlotte49ers - 8. Angyl78 - 9. truelyana - 10. Claire Crossdale -


  1. You’re great! A COMPLETE first draft in one month is surreal to me. I wish you nothing but the very best with this endeavor. Both Simone and I are sending you all our very best wishes though I doubt very much that you’ll need it for with over 17,000 words already written on November 4 you’re sure to finish without trouble by your deadline.
    Take care,

  2. You are awesome. That is a huge feat, but I know you can do it too. (I've seen your word counts-impressive to say the least)

    These are all great things to remember. I'm right on schedule to finish the 50,000, will it be complete? Nope. I'll need to edit it, and I always add to my drafts as opposed to taking away a lot. I write bones for my first drafts.

    I'm sure you and FINN are going to have a great life together :)

    Keep up the great work- you are inspiring me each time I log on to the NaNo website!!

  3. Claire and Simone, thank you very much for your best wishes. One can never have too much of that. :)

    Erica, are so sweet. It's very nice to inspire people. I am glad that you are right on schedule to finish 50K. Keep up the good work. I totally agree about 1st draft. No doubt mine will require a great deal of editing before it is submission worthy, but let's not start worrying about that until December.

  4. I'm impressed by anyone actually tackling NaNoWriMo. It boggpes me, though I could probably do it too.

    And getting to work while on the bus is a good thing. I've always tried to write or read on the bus so it feels less like wasted time.

    I love that you've even included a reward. Most people wouldn't.

  5. Raven,

    I must admit reward was a bit of coincidence. Only because this game happened to be scheduled to come out in November, so I thought this would be perfect incentive, and also because if I played before I finished my first draft, I would never finish my first draft :P

  6. Love your reward! :-) I decided I'm going to buy the new NaNo hoodie once I finish my draft...I really want one, but can't justify the cost just outright. But having worked hard all month and ending up with a complete draft - makes it feel like I earned it.

    It really is all about making time, isn't it? Even though we're all busy, somehow we can still "find" those extra hours somewhere when we really work at it. Good lesson in time management & discipline, but also balancing with everything else.

    You're smokin'! :-)

  7. What a great list! I can only wish to have so many great motivators. :)

  8. JUst stating the truth :) I'm cool with not worrying about it till December too :o)

  9. That is a beautiful list that shows passion and determination for your work, and I think other writers or artists can relate to it in some way. :)

  10. Good post. Concrete, tangible goals and a sense of purpose really help make NaNoWriMo a worthwhile experience, I think -- rather than the writer's equivalent of "100 bottles of beer on the wall" (do school children sing that in England on busses ...?)

    By the way, my netbook's name sprang into my mind a few days ago. You've got Finn? I've got ... Gina! ;)

    Good luck!


  11. I never thought of a reward. Great idea! I saw your word count, great job!