Whether you are participating for the first time or have been doing it since the beginning it is easy to get stuck. Writing 50,000 words in a month is a crazy concept to some but can be a jumping off point to others. As the days pass in November you may be seeing yourself slip with your word count and get behind. Just don’t let it frustrate you. Here are some helpful tips to keep up with your word count so that you can win NaNoWriMo.
1. Turn off grammar and spell check
You may have more editing to do in December but having to keep stopping to correct yourself will slow you down. There by reducing your word count output. Besides once you are on a roll getting those words typed you don’t want to be distracted by things like the red and green underlines of Microsoft Word.
2. Do not use compound words or contractions
Instead of using salesperson use sales person and use is not instead of isn’t. You will be surprised by how many words you are losing by combining them together. Remember each word counts.
3. Focus on setting
If you find yourself unsure of what to write next and are lost for words think about your setting. Imagine yourself in the scene. What is in the room? Is there something in the room your character finds symbolic? Or maybe he/she hates the purple swan statue on the fireplace mantel? If so why keep it? Is it from a great aunt that they loved? This could all help build the story, character arc and your word count.
4. Listen to music
Help set the mood or get into character by listening to music. If you are trying to write a scene where two characters are falling in love listen to your favorite love song. That will help you feel the love between and help you get into the scene. If you are writing about a character feeling sad and alone turn to alternative rock or blues. Listen to the passion in the singer’s voice and the think on the words to accomplish writing a scene you are stuck on.
5. Have a snack
Sometimes the words just won’t come. You don’t know where go with this scene or how best to build the conflict just take a break. Have something to eat, read a chapter of a favorite book or take a walk to clear your head and start off fresh.
6. Don’t edit…yet
When you sitting down to write don’t worry about starting a character out a 31 and then latter writing that he/she is 28 or a small plot hole, it will distract you from your word count goal. Save that for December or whenever you are ready to polish. During NaNoWriMo you are writing a rough draft no need for perfection. After the 50,000 words are written is the time to go back and fix the mistakes. Just keep writing and when you think of something that needs repair write it in a separate document to look at later.
7. Have fun
Don’t let worry keep you from writing more. Enjoy the experience of writing on a deadline for fun, someday you could be a contracted author expected to write on publisher’s deadline. There are no consequences for not finishing in NaNoWriMo. You can always do it again next year. Also keep in mind when you feel like you can’t finish of how many people you know who have said they could write a book and never even tried. You are already taking that step and can look back proud that you did start that book.