Trying to find a way to complete my novel, I looked at all sorts of tips on the internet and in e-books. I came across a few tips that are helping me, and hopefully, I will get 50,000 words in one month. The one thing I discovered that will give me the motivation to get these 50,000 words in one month is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).
Technically, I should probably be writing to get my target word count for the day, but I decided to take a break and catch up tomorrow. The approach that NaNoWrMo uses is a great approach to use all the time. It may be frustrating to just write and not edit in between, but unless it’s a major plot change that would need a rewrite of the chapter, writing ~1700 words a day can get you to your goal of a complete manuscript. I feel accountable to get my word count in for the day. It’s daunting to know that if I skip a day—maybe I will get my word count in today—I would have to double my word count the next day just to catch up.
Another great tip I found is to write constantly, everyday, about anything, hence, the blog (technically two blogs: this one and my mommy blog). It’s especially helpful when I get a bit of writer’s block and can’t figure out what to write next. I do have an outline, which is also a good thing to have. It’s gives me some direction and I have an idea where my story is leading. I tried to be a pantser, where I write and have the story flow out on its own, but I find that only works for me when I write blogs, like now. Sometimes I would create an outline for the blog, a.k.a. plot, but sometimes I just want to get the thoughts out of my head in the order they spew out.
Though, if I do decide to outline my blog, or in the case of my manuscript, my work in progress, I find that using Scrivener is a writer’s best friend. The software is affordable already, but if you take part in NaNoWriMo, you can get a 20% discount. The great thing about the software is organization your novel into scenes and chapters with cue cards that can display each scene outline. You can also add character sketches, setting sketches, plot information, and research items. It all stores with your manuscript for reference. It can compile your manuscript to save as different formats, including an e-book. Scrivener has helped a lot with organizing my thoughts.
When I’m not on my computer, another helpful tool is Evernote. I don’t use it for writing, but you can use it in the same fashion as Scrivener, but I find that Scrivener has more features. Evernote is available as an app on your smartphone, and this feature is valuable. There are times when I’m far away from my computer and a pen and paper approach doesn’t cut it because my handwriting is horrible and I type fast, even on the tiny touch keyboard on my smartphone—chalk it up to all texts I send to my girlfriends. I write my new ideas for a scene in my WIP on Evernote and I can access it on my computer via the cloud.
Aside from writing, a great help for any manuscript is an editing class. You can find out all the things you do wrong when you write and nip it in the bud before you write it down. Of course, old habits are hard to break, but at least you’ll know what glaring errors to look for when you go through your manuscript at the end. Some of these editing classes can be found on Groupon or from a writing association, like Romance Writers Association. Joining an association is a great way to other authors for advice. You can find a writing buddy that can give you the motivation and guilt like a workout buddy. It’s also a great way to find a critiquing partner.
And speaking of critiquing, signing up for a writing group, like Scribophile, is a great way to critique and get critiqued. Through critiquing, you can see common errors in plot, verb tense, POV, punctuation, and grammar. You can see what you want to see and don’t want to see in your own writing. And don’t stick to your genre. Explore others and sometimes you can find common elements that make a novel a bestseller. I read bestsellers and self-published works. It’s another great way to see what you want to see and don’t want to see in your own writing.
So, signing up for NaNoWriMo is a great way to get motivated to write your manuscript within the month, or at least 50,000 words of your WIP. Having a writing buddy can also guilt-motivate you to write. Hopefully, using all the tools I mentioned will help me reach my goal.