It’s October. For most that means Halloween, and all that goes with it, but for a growing number of writers that means gearing up for National Novel Writer’s month, https://nanowrimo.org, especially if you’re a planner. I’m not much for doing that. I might draw a map or a floor plan, but I’ve never written an outline. So, I can’t give advice about how to do that.
As the days move quickly toward the start, I thought I’d impart some wisdom I’ve learned from all the years I’ve been doing this to all those first timers out there. And I think I’ll begin by saying, if you miss the start, don’t look at where others are and say you’ll never catch up, you don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Tomorrow they may hit a roadblock. Don’t give up. This is really more about what you can do, not what others can do. And it doesn’t matter who reaches the finish line first; everyone who accomplishes 50k in the month wins.
And if I can pound out 40k in just fourteen days, as I did this past July for Camp Nano, you can come from behind and produce 50k in whatever time you have left of the month. (If you type really fast, unlike me, you might even be able to manage 50k in a week.) Though I wouldn’t want to make a habit of it.
Which is my next point. Don’t leave it until the last minute. Just remember the old Aesop’s Fable about the Tortoise and Hare. The Hare was fast, but only in spurts, and he didn’t win. He got distracted; he lost focus. Keep that moral in mind. Over the years I’ve been participating, I’ve seen people who typed almost nonstop for the last twenty-four hours, madly trying to finish, and several didn't because they had too far to go. Even they couldn’t type that fast.
Then there’s me, I’ve completed all the Nano’s I’ve entered, except last year, and that was because I had a concussion and couldn’t. (One of those I wasn’t able validate my efforts, but I did meet the goal.) And the only time I was typing like mad was the aforementioned Camp Nano this past July, which was all my fault, because I spent too long editing instead of writing.
Generally, I take the tortoise approach to writing. Slow and steady wins the race. It won’t win a Word War, but it will get me to the finish line, often before the winners of all those Word Wars.
Actually, I know a lady who could type three or four times faster than I can, but she always ended up doing some all-nighters near the end, and not always to success. Sure, she could type fast − that didn’t help.
My advice is to make time to write at least six days a week. Notably, if you find you have minute, or two, take it! Because tomorrow you may not get that much. Steal every second you can find to reach your goal. That way, you won’t have to depend on some mythical chunk of time off somewhere in the future, which may disappear like a mirage; use what you know you have, it might be your only chance.
And most importantly, Happy writing everyone. 😊