Into the Cocoon
Ah, do you smell that, gentle viewers?
That’s the smell of hundreds of thousands of people with coffee breath pounding frantically on keyboards.
Which is to say, it’s November. And that means NaNoWriMo.
November is my cocoon month. It’s the month that I retreat into my own brain coming out only on the 18th (my birthday) and for Thanksgiving (one of my favourite holidays). This means that I usually get a lot of writing done, NaNo notwithstanding. Last year I wrote almost 90,000 words if you count my blogs (which I do).
You can’t see me, but I stole the moth’s hidey-hole. It’s actually me in there. The emperor gum moth in its tough brown cocoon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I need a sort of hibernation phase as the weather grows colder, and November is perfect. Feel free to judge me for counting a frenetic flurry of writing as hibernation.
To wrap up this rather boring little post, here are my NaNo tips:
- Reward yourself. Set up some thresholds (make ’em weird if you want, like 33,333 words) and treat yourself to something when you hit them. Even if it’s asking your significant other for a foot rub. Or some Krispy Kreme.
- Don’t flog yourself (too hard). While 50,000 words in a month is oddly do-able, sometimes life just pops out in front of you and socks you in the jaw. Or in the typing fingers.
- DO push yourself. On the front end when your idea is zinging, challenge yourself to go above and beyond the 1,667 word per day goal. You’ll thank yourself around Thanksgiving when you’ve “earned” enough words to indulge your turkey coma.
- Find a write-in. Find a good one. Find people who are focused, driven, and wanting to write instead of socialise. I’ve said maybe four sentences to my fellow writers since arriving at Panera. They’re busy. I’m getting there.
- Plan the plot points. At least give yourself some sort of bridge to go across. If your story line drags on the ground, it’ll be much harder to fix later. Novels are large and unwieldy things.
- Think what you want to do with your novel. Publish it? Traditionally or self? Use it as a door stop? Frame it? That would be weird. But figure it out and write intentionally.
- And when NaNo is over, remember that your novel will need editing. It will. For the sake of our lovely literary agent friends, please don’t just query the crap out of it in the first week (or, you know, month) of December. They don’t want to read your first drafts, and no, it’s not already perfect. Sorry if I’m the one to break it to you. Yes, I know it’s not technically written yet, but if it helps, this is me writing to you on 1 December instead of 1 November, and I’m here to slap you with a codfish. WAIT. EDIT. A LOT. Patience, ducklings.
- Have fun. Seriously. NaNo is all about fun. Make new friends, go nuts, write something crazy that you never would have written before. Write about the quest for the radioactive codpiece. But write. With abandon. That’s what NaNo is for.
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