I’d never participated in NaNoWriMo before this year, but I’d heard countless horror stories about failure and staying up till past midnight to get your word count for the day (which, of course, didn’t work because once midnight came it was too late) and endless amounts of snacking/coffee to keep up writerly energy (okay, I’ll admit that part didn’t horrify me). I wasn’t sure what to expect when I signed up, but I do remember thinking that 1,667 words a day didn’t seem like much. Hey, I would do 2,000 words a day and get done right on November 25th. And at first it wasn’t hard. I wrote upwards of 5,000 words a day and watched in glee as my word count grew by leaps and bounds.
Then came the change. Around the end of week one, beginning of week two, I started suffering from burn-out. My writing dropped down to only a few hundred a day (it didn’t help that I got a cold/fever about that time), the story seemed boring and pointless, and the whole thing lagged along miserably. I think what happened was that my main character, Nathan, was stuck in a rut when I lost interest and that’s why I wasn’t interested anymore. Who wants to write about a defeated hero anyway? But I kept pressing forward and in a few thousand words, things changed for the better in more ways than one. The story pace picked up again and so did my writing. And I kept going right to the finish. I would like to share a few little things that I think helped me reach my goal so fast…
- Early mornings – I didn’t actually do any writing in the early morning, but I woke up early (which I really hate doing ordinarily, but I’ve kind of gotten used to it now) so that I could get a head start on my schoolwork (I’m homeschooled). Then, once I was done, I had an hour of writing time (this was added to my regular computer time, and it was a huge help in getting my writing done – I’ve found that I can write 2,000 words in less than an hour).
- Music – I made a huge music playlist the day before NaNo started (since that was the day I knew for sure I’d be participating) and I specially selected each piece for how it matched the theme and tone of I Will Repay and the whole dystopian genre in general. I have The Hunger Games soundtrack on there, of course, along with Brave, Man Of Steel, Titanic, Pirates Of The Caribbean… I’ve actually not seen any of those movies, as I prefer to write to soundtracks that I haven’t seen the movies for. It’s less distracting. I also have quite a bit of piano music by David Nevue, because I find it really relaxing and great for getting in a writerly frame of mind.
- Bribes – This ties in nicely with the point about music, because one of the reasons I write so much is because I love music so listening to it for hours on end is a great bribe. I also use fudge, muffins, and other miscellaneous foods. Those are almost as good as music. Oh, and don’t forget bathroom breaks. Those are a huge motivator, believe me.
- Go Teen Writers – I linked to the blog, but the facebook group is really what helped me along. It’s a big, fun community of teen writers who are always willing to give suggestions, congratulations, sympathy, or a good pep talk. I love the group (and I probably post on there a little more than I should) and I’ve made some good friends through it. And I really can’t say too much about their creativity and inspirational ideas – when I was looking for a name for the young adult Christians in I Will Repay they suggested ‘Existents’ and it was perfect (post about why it was perfect and who exactly the Existents are coming soon). They definitely helped me get through NaNo.