NaNoWriMo Tips and Tricks, or SHUT IT AND WRITE.


I actually wrote this in 2004 on my Livejournal, which was also the last NaNoWriMo I spent in California. And that year I did NaNo while I was also prepping my master’s thesis. Aw, memories.

1) Murder your Internal Editor

No, seriously. Knock that bastard in the head with a sledgehammer and feed him through the wood chipper. I know it sounds difficult, but there is no way in hell you are getting to 50,000 words if he’s hanging over your shoulder and whispering in your ear. And the whole POINT of NaNoWriMo is to GET TO 50,000 WORDS! So leave the crap in. At some point, you’ll go back and edit it out. Edit, 10/10/2011: For the last few years, I’ve been using Dr. Wicked’s Write or Die to assist in the writewritewrite.

2) Don’t Overthink

Yeah, so you don’t know what kind of shoes mailmen wear, and if mailmen would really want to become busty cannibalistic lesbian ninja pirate cabbages. Do not spend all of November angsting over this. Make it up, gloss it over, or have someone ask your character why and your character answer with a shrug and just drop the subject. Remember, 50k on the page is your goal, not coherence.

3) Pad. Pad. Pad.

Tangents. Subplots. Flashbacks. Dream sequences. Long monolouges about the nature of the universe. Quotes from publications your MC is currently reading. The Livejournal entry your MC types out and then gets eaten by the server and then your MC has to type another one. Emailed diatrabes at media figures and the responses recieved. Stories about how it used to be back when your MC was a child. Ghost stories around the campfire. Descriptions of the stained glass in the cathedral.

4) Stay Off The Forums

Sometimes they’re a good thing. Other times they’re the time waster from hell. If you do go on for inspiration or research, set yourself a short time limit and stick to it. Twenty minutes in Procrastiation playing Word Association is twenty minutes you could have been writing toward your word count. The one forum you 100% always want to stay away from? Plot Doctoring. That’s where all the newbies go and get caught up in the overthink (see point #2).

5) Go To Write-Ins

Sure, you all know that there’s a crazy woman in California Oregon writing NaNo, but knowing intellectually that there’s someone on the other side of the monitor and actually going to a place and meeting with other writers doing this crazy thing is not only a great support, but it’s also a good kick in the word-count pants during the third and fourth week when you just. don’t. want. to. write. When you’re sitting in a cafe and the keyboard next to you is clacking away, you just have to lick the tip of your pen and dive in with a great extended chase scene featuring a water snake and an exotic dancer.

6) Get a Plot Ninja

Wondering about those busty cannibalistic ninja lesbian pirate cabbages earlier? They were the 2003 Designated Plot Ninja. A Plot Ninja is some device you use when your characters are stuck and they need to do something. Some people have a clown pop up, others have their characters call their mothers, others who are in no way me and my novel last year have someone kicked in the balls. Plot ninjas scale the dreaded writer’s block, assasinate its guards, and lead you safely through to the word count on the other side.

7) Donate

Yes, I know it really won’t help your word count, but you get a nifty halo for even one dollar, and not only do you support the madness that is NaNo, you also support the gift of literacy for children in Cambodia. That’s pretty damn spiffy, if I do say so myself. Give what you can.

8) You Can Do This!

Really, you can! I know you can! Because, well, hell, *I* did it, then anyone can!

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2 Responses to NaNoWriMo Tips and Tricks, or SHUT IT AND WRITE.

  1. Coco says:

    Just wanted to drop by and say hey in person.

    Also, “busty cannibalistic ninja lesbian pirate cabbages” is my new favorite phrase.

  2. Sushi says:

    I could have sworn it was a busty lesbian cabbage pirate ninja, or something minus the cannibalism. Hm. I was trying to remember for a scene in my novel where my character comes across one. Looks like it’s time to trawl the forum archives again.

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