… From a pro. Nah, ahaha, I’m not a professional in anything. Bearing that in mind, take everything with a grain of salt.
See, I’ve had two very different experiences the two times I’ve done NaNo (Nov ’13, April ’15). The first time, I went to 70k words but I did not finish the story, and I eventually gave up on it after November ended. This time around, I did finish the story, but (I think) I only went to 30k words. So I’ll write from both experiences.
Okay, honestly, once I wrote this, the only thing that came to my mind was type like a madman. Honestly, that’s true, that’s the only thing that led me to win several times already. However, since I know most of you have lives unlike me, I’ll try to break it down.
- Write for the story, not the word count. The moment I typed this, I was so sure that people from NaNo would chase after me with pitchforks, but honestly (at least from my experience), it’s true.
I may have done only 30k words this month, but I finished it! And to me, that was far more satisfying than reaching a high word count. Yes, I will need to tear it down completely and revise it, however, it is done, and what draft doesn’t need to be torn down anyway, right?
So, in my opinion, yes a word count goal helps immensely, but don’t panic if you finish a story way below a word count or if it needs to be a whole lot more. The goal is only a guideline to help kick you in the ass and write it, it should not control your story.
I wrote everything by hand, and no, I am not kidding. I find that writing on paper allows my thoughts to flow better, honestly. I know there are people who say the opposite, but if you are stuck in writing something, you could always try paper and pen, see if that helps.
Though I got to say, writing by hand for 30k still hurts like shit.
I didn’t plot anything, period, I mean that in the most literal sense. I only forgot to turn the lights on, then immediately I went, “Hey, let’s write about the night!”
I shit you not, I pulled events and characters out of a hat. I was honestly writing nonsense and underdeveloped characters and settings, some parts didn’t get used at all in the end. But for me, everything still flowed, I was still able to sit down and write for three hours straight without knowing what my characters are supposed to do or where the story was supposed to go.
In fact, the moment I did have a sense of what was going to happen was the same moment I began to feel sluggish, so I just thought to myself, “No, throw everything that you wanted to do away and just write.”
I honestly think that’s all, really. I’m horrible at pep talks, I realised. But yeah, not everything is applicable to everyone, but if you’re stuck, you may as well try what I did. You never know, it might actually help a lot.