When Fel asked me to write a guest post for JuNoWriMo, I was happy to do it, though, honestly, I was expecting a stadium talk with proper AV equipment. And where are the Ahlgrens bilar marshmallow cars and Puolukkapore lemonade that my contract stipulates must be provided without substitution?
During 2012, I wrote five novels and had three novels published. I’ve started on my third novel for 2013, and my fifth book (Extra Credit Epidemic) will be published in July. The following tips are a few things that work for me.
Break it down
Break down your JuNoWriMo goal into parts. If you want to pull a series of all-nighters, go for it, and revel in your ability to do so. But whatever your schedule, you want to know that you can consistently achieve more, that you can do this over and over, that this doesn’t have to be a once (or twice) a year thing. So manage your project: figure out what your daily and weekly word count should be, then modify it to fit your schedule. Be accountable to yourself.
Also, keep track of your output: when you write, when you do your best writing, your daily word count, and if you timed yourself (like with the Pomodoro Technique).
Blaze through your first draft
Do not think of this as the defining work of your life. This is *a* work — I hope one of many for you, so keep moving forward. If you’re having trouble making a choice in your draft, think about it for a few minutes, then decide on something. Aim for sustained focus and momentum.
If you want to write faster and get more done, sketch out even a minimal outline. Some writers are resistant to any outlining, and that’s fine. It’s a guide, and my outlines are always flexible. I have a lot of wiggle room, and always change things along the way. If you haven’t outlined before, try doing just one sentence for each chapter or scene, or sketching out a few major turning points.
Spend a few minutes visualizing what’s going to happen in the next day’s work. It also helps enormously to stop at a point where you know what to write the next day, so you can get right back into it.
When you reach an obstacle
Here are some ways I deal with obstacles in the writing process.
- Talk it out with someone who’s on your side. JuNoWriMo gives you a community of people working toward the same goal at the same time. But this could also be your spouse or your pet iguana.
- Write out the basics of what you want to do in the scene, and write down questions for yourself to return to later.
- Think about what pisses you off. Condescending idiots? Bad dentists? Horrible neighbors? Put them up as obstacles for your character, and take ’em down on the page.
- Have your good character do something bad or your bad character do something good.
- Add a third person to the scene.
- Do a little research — you may see something that sparks an idea.
I hope you take away something useful from these tips, and that JuNoWriMo proves to be a fun and productive experience for you!
Nina Post is a fiction writer who lives in Seattle. She is the author of Danger in Cat World, Extra Credit Epidemic, The Last Condo Board of the Apocalypse, The Last Donut Shop of the Apocalypse, and One Ghost Per Serving. For the latest updates, subscribe to her newsletter and follow her on Goodreads and Twitter.
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