NaNoWriMo has just begun and here are some helpful hints for those of you attempting this Quixotian enterprise:
1) Write everyday. Don’t take a break for your birthday, or hospital visits, or just because your hamster died. If you have a fever of 104, write! Look how well Tropic of Cancer sells and he wrote that entire thing when he was blasted out of his mind…
2) Don’t fool yourself into thinking you are writing the next best seller. You are not. If you are lucky, you’re going to produce something your mother will tell you is quite nice. Have realistic expectations for output and you will be much happier come December 1st.
3) Don’t write without a plan. Sit down first and figure out who your characters are, what they mean to each other, and kind of where you want the story to go. Otherwise you’re going to get to page 200 and realize that nothing has actually happened yet.
and 4) For the love of all that is holy, please, please, PLEASE go back and edit before you try and share your collection of sleep-deprived words with anyone else. A month to bang out around 80,000 words is enough time to get them out, but not enough time to make them good. If you think on December 1st that you’re going to be sending out your work to agents and publishers, be prepared for a lot of rejection, because that’s all you’re going to get. And if you self-publish? It is not going to sell. Take the next year to edit, then maybe it will be something that can stand up to actual scrutiny.
With that being said, start your engines, pick up your pencils, start the coffee, whatever it is that’ll get you going, and have fun. Don’t get hung up on the word count, the timeline, or anything. Just write because the words won’t stay down and they just have to come out.