My Top 5 NaNoWriMo Survival Tips from Chuck Wendig

AMID THE CACOPHONY OF POP SONGS, NANOWRIMO, AND OTHER STUFF TO IMPORTANT TO IGNORE

Halloween is done but the fun has yet to be done. (Um, what?!)

This simply means I didn’t get to celebrate Halloween. (Boo!) BUT this weekend, I will celebrate like mad. In fact, the celebration will be like one big party where all the past Halloweens and the next 1092347 Halloweens will be combined. Meaning? Hotel room. Horror movie marathons. Bingeing. With friends. Shits and giggles, people! Because we all know how well those go along with the spooks and scares, however belated they may be.

And now, I toss you over to NaNoWriMo. This just got real! I am currently on Day 4 this side of the globe. How has it been so far? Let’s just say I managed to mangle some words just right before the clock hit midnight. So far, so good. Sort of.

Aside: Chuck Wendig wrote an awesome blog post focused on surviving the madness we writers know as NaNoWriMo. There are gems there, such as:

I do about 45 minutes of writing, then 15 minutes of dicking around.

Also? Item number 27 = FTW. Here are my favorite five tips from Chuck Wendig’s list:

>> I do not edit as I go.

Too true. Last year, I had a hard time not editing my work. I found myself going back to what I have previously written each time I sat down to write. Before I knew it, I was editing and along with that came creeping in the horror of self-doubt. I thought to myself, “This is crap. My writing is crap. Where am I going with the story? What is this scene?!” Then I wail in agony for about five minutes, promptly followed by proper wallowing time which consists of eating ice-cream in my bed, staring off into space, and thinking of nothing. It wasn’t too long before I lost precious writing — real writing — time and then BOOM! NaNoWriMo was over and I never reached the 50k word count goal.

Moral of the story: Do not edit as you go. Just don’t. Squash the urge. Chuck it out the window if you must and let your neighbor’s dog eat that urge.

>> I do not listen to music because music distracts me.

Some people I know do well in listening to music while they write. I am not one of those people. I find myself tuning in to the lyrics and then getting sucked into the song. Then I’ll be all feels and my mood for writing slowly disintegrates. I need as little noise / distraction as possible when I’m writing. We all must live with our idiosyncrasies, I’m afraid. *sigh*

>> I let the characters lead the way. When I doubt, I ask what do they want in this scene, what do they want overall, and what is most important? I let them run with it.

Oh dear. YES to this. When I get stuck on writing my novel for NaNoWriMo, I don’t use prompts. I simply think of a scene for one of my main characters and then it just flows from there. More times than I can count, I am amazed at the outcome. Not because what I have written was good but because the character managed to do and say what they wanted. Also? Word count goal for the day = totally done. 😀

>> When in doubt, seek danger. Er, not for you, but for the story.

In relation to the previous tip, this is very handy. When you feel like your story is going nowhere or that it’s falling flat, throw something along your main character’s path. It doesn’t have to be something physical. You could give him or her a new problem to solve or a new tough situation where he or she must get out of. Or you could bring in a new character, let that new character shake things up for your main character. Have your main character become uncomfortable or even in danger. Make him or her grow. (And yes, most of the time, he or she will find devious ways  to save him- or herself.)

>> If I’m stuck, I babble on the page until I am unstuck. Sometimes I blow stuff up.

Babble all the way to the ends of the Earth. Babble so much that you get a migraine out of it and finally have no choice but to stop it by either finally making sense (or at least, you’d like to think so) or finally throwing your character in mortal danger. Problem solved! Word count goal achieved!


How are you faring during these early days of NaNoWriMo? What have you done to get things going for your writing? I read somewhere that there are those who wrote more than 5k during the first day. WHOA. *high-five!* Let’s do this, people! We can all get to writing every day. Don’t let the 50k word count worry you too much. Let’s just take it 1,667 words a day, okay? (Although if you’re a NaNo pro by now, you’ll be beyond that daily minimum word count, in which case… I salute you!)

** Read the blog post here. You’ll be entertained and educated at the same time.

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4 thoughts on “My Top 5 NaNoWriMo Survival Tips from Chuck Wendig

  1. This is some great advice…also had me smirking ^ ^
    I’ve finally let go of my controlling side and am now letting the characters lead the way. It’s been very helpful. I wish I did it sooner XD

    dimensionsofmyuniverse.blogspot.com

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    1. That’s great! 🙂 I’m glad you found Chuck’s advice helpful. Did your characters take your novel in a different direction than the one you originally planned?

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